Leading 10 – 13 at the break, Broadstreet Rugby Football Club’s trip to faraway Preston Grasshoppers RFC ended in a 32 – 13 defeat as their grateful hosts took a firm grip late after a mostly well-contested first seventy minutes to register maximum points. Quite the opposite of last week; ‘Street’s second half performance this time out saw them pass up several scoring chances as time and again half breaks were squandered with a handful of unaccountable forward passes leading to loss of possession, position and, ultimately, composure. Grateful Preston overhauled their visitors in a last fifteen minutes blitz of points leaving a dishevelled ‘Street rueing their repetitive carelessness leading to mistakes galore. Second half injuries to number eight Chris Wood, hooker Mike Worthington and lock Callum Tucker brought about a loss of forward cohesion, which, added to those squandered chances in the threequarters, circumstances ultimately condemned the visitors to a rear guard action late on and an unflattering defeat. Grasshoppers, taking late control of the contact area and enjoying a plethora of possession were; whilst unable to penetrate ‘Street’s stubborn defence close in, allowed to slide centre Sam Kendal and Lewis Allen in at the corners for two late tries, either side of a John Embelton penalty, and a superb Lewis Allen conversion from wide out, in a scrappy, error strewn, second half.
Preston to offend and fly half Ben Cooper chalked up 3 points after 3 minutes play. A 14 minute miss pass put right wing Lewis Allen in at the corner for an unconverted try before Cooper again punished the hosts for close in offending to make it 5 – 6 after 25 minutes of play. Whilst defending their line stoutly on the half hour, ‘Street’s centre Beau Carney astutely picked off a Preston inside pass in his own twenty two area and found winger Jeff Gregson who gained good metres and, with scrum half Nick Thatcher’s support Cooper spun the pass out left to number 8 Chris Wood before handing the ball on to full back Nathan Tilsley to run 25 metres untouched to between the sticks; finishing off 80 metres of some delightful interpassing for a Cooper converted try to extended ‘Street’s lead to 5 – 13. Grasshoppers pressed for a score with half-time approaching and were rewarded when a scruffy drop out by the visitors landed in midfield and with the defence split, the home backs attacked left and Jack Ward dived in at the corner to pull back an unconverted try. Starting strongly, ‘Street forced
HALF TIME: Preston Grasshoppers 10 Broadstreet 13.
The second half, ‘Street erred, Preston prospered and whilst not entirely faultless in their handling, the hosts nevertheless had enough savvy to capitalise on a wealth of gifted possession and territory to rattle up a second unconverted try by Lewis Allen after 10 minutes and two more; both scored by Kendal (65 and 76 minutes), with one converted by Allen either side of that John Embelton 74th minute penalty, reaping a 15 points tally in a late 11 minute period thereby leaving ‘Street with no chance of another miraculous recovery.
Squad: Nathan Tilsley; Jeff Gregson, Beau Carney, Andy Murray, Ashley Elvers; Ben Cooper, Nick Thatcher; Joe Foreman, Mike Worthington, Rob Dugard; Callum Tucker, Matthew Solomon; Aaron Crofts, Jamie Harrop (Captain), Chris Wood. Ben Dawes, Jake Dodd, Stewart Pearl, Nick Murphy, Dan Hope.
Mistakes are made by the best of players/teams, (ask Gloucester, Leicester, Northampton of late!!) but they rarely come in legions; nevertheless, the causes thereof at Preston are generally identifiable and, therefore, correctable! Stay strong!