Huddersfield vs. Preston Grasshoppers – Kick Off 3.00pm
With Sean Long having Super League commitments over in Wakefield this Saturday evening and Graham Holroyd also not available, Lewis Allen starts in the number ten shirt. Apart from the absence of Sean Long, the same starting line up as last week will make the journey across the Pennines with Tom Smith taking the vacant spot on the bench.
The full line up is:
15. Sean Taylor, 14. Matt Gargett, 13. Karl Fitzpatrick, 12. Jack Ward, 11. Phill Baines, 10. Lewis Allen, 9. Nathan Fowles, 1. Andy Irving, 2. Alan Holmes, 3. Richard Morton, 4. Alex Austin, 5. Wayne Steel, 6. Killian Wallace, 7. Matt Charters, 8. Dominic Moon.
Replacements: 16. Phil Mills, 17. Chris Gayle, 18. Connor Murphy 19. Tom Smith, 20. Matt Hughes.
Hoppers make their sixth and final trip to Yorkshire this coming Saturday for their final away League encounter of the season visiting the picturesque Lockwood Park, which lies just south of Huddersfield centre.
With Hoppers rearranging theirs and the upper levels of league rugby’s record books last Saturday, teams around them struggling for consistency and Caldy who currently sit in the play off spot having their six point lead halved last Saturday. All this means that if Hoppers can keep their winning run going, a trip south on the 5th of May is still a realistic target to aim for.
Since Huddersfield were promoted into National N2 four seasons ago, all six meetings had resulted in home victories until the reverse fixture back in December when the visitors broke the sequence with a seven point (and their first ever) League win at Lightfoot Green. Hoppers will no doubt have learned their lesson from that game when a series of penalties conceded by the home team helped the Yorkshiremen take the spoils.
Huddersfield with just one win and two draws in their last eight matches, looked nailed on for the Play-Off spot back in January when they led Westoe by three points with a game in hand and were a further four points ahead of the current second placed Caldy.
Meetings between the two clubs go back to the late 1950’s when Hoppers made the first journey over the Pennines to play Huddersfield on the 29th of March 1958 at The Waterloo Ground, which is now occupied by a Morrisons supermarket.
It wasn’t a lucky trip for the travellers as the home team ran out comprehensive victors, 29 points to 9; in fact it took eight visits to Huddersfield before Hoppers eventually gained a win there in 1965.
The playing record between this week’s opponents sits just in favour of Huddersfield by 28 victories against 22 to Hoppers with two matches ending all square and one being cancelled. Meetings in Yorkshire are massively in favour of the home team with 18 victories against just 6, in fact it took Hoppers six visits and a period of eleven years to gain there first ever win in Huddersfield. There was one other meeting between the two teams, this was a pre-season practice game at Lockwood Park before the start of the 2003/04 season when Hoppers ran riot, winning 79-19. This was however small consolation at the end of the season when we were relegated to North 1.
Without ‘counting any chickens’, our Second Team can clinch the Bateman BMW Premier League title on Saturday if they can overcome Chester at Lightfoot Green. So anyone not travelling across the Pennines, please give them your support. There are also a couple of other games being played at Lightfoot Green this Saturday
Hoppers 3 vs. Carlisle 2
Hoppers 4 vs. Wigan 2
The 1869 Club are running a coach to Huddersfield, taking lunch en route as is traditional. Any supporters are welcome to join the party with accompanied youngsters travelling free of charge. This is a “Dads & Kids” trip and it would be great to see a full load of supporters to cheer Hoppers on. There’s a notice on the board for interested partied to add their names. Departure time is 10.30 and the fare £15 which may reduce depending on numbers travelling.
Departure from Lockwood Park will be the usual one hour after the final whistle, with an estimated arrival back at Hoppers of 7.00pm.
Photos by kind permission of Mike Craig.