Chester vs Preston Grasshoppers, Kick Off 3pm
Head coach Michael Lough makes one or two changes from last weeks successful squad, most of which are rotational, and will be hoping his players can carry on from where they left off last Saturday against the Tigers. One of last season’s top try scorers, winger Adam Birchall makes his first appearance of the season together with the robust Eddie Webster on the bench.
1. James Mawdsley, 2. Phil Mills, 3. Richard Morton, 4. Mo Mustafa, 5. Ali Murray, 6. Andy Napier, 7. Kilian Wallace, 8. Dominic Moon. Captain, 9. Sam Kindred, 10. Lewis Allen, 11. Anthony Elliott, 12. Jack Ward, 13. Phil Baines, 14. Adam Birchall, 15. Alex Zavallis Roebuck.
Replacements: 16. Brad Tuff, 17. Craig Aikman, 18. Sam Wallbank, 19. Chris Taylor, 20. Eddie Webster.
Chester line up as:
1. Gavin Woods 2. Liam Gill 3. James Whitelock – Wainwright 4. Ross White 5. Tom Gregory 6. Will Bown 7. Mike Craven 8. Guy Ford 9. Carwyn Lloyd – Williams 10. Rhys Hayes 11. Andrew Oakden 12. Will Nelson 13. Paul McLindon 14. Sean Green 15. TomFoden
16. Guy Kirby 17. Andy Moore 18. John Mackenzie 19. Richard Varkuils 20. Peter Rees
Hoppers make the relatively short journey to Chester’s Hare Lane ground for just their second league visit to that particular part of Cheshire and their second away fixture of the season this coming weekend.
The two teams last met in competitive action during Hoppers season in North 1 back on the 5th of February 2005 when a relatively comfortable away victory was achieved by twenty points to five completing the double that season for Hoppers. Since then a couple of pre-season ‘training’ fixtures have taken place, both at Chester’s ground with honours shared.
Competitive games between the two clubs go back to almost fifty years ago when the inaugural game took place at our Lea ground on the 23rd of October 1965 where Hoppers won by a single point in a game of thirty three. Since then there have been twenty three meetings between the two clubs with our opponents winning twelve to eleven by ourselves.
Chester gained promotion from North 1 at the end of last season after the nearest of misses in the play off against Sheffield Tigers the previous year. The Cheshire outfit aren’t resting on their laurels either with a long list of comings and goings having taken place over the summer months.
After losing Lloyd Hayes to Rotherham, a young centre who scored 30 tries last season and Andy Moore being replaced as Club Captain, Chester have been very busy recruiting amongst others Bradford & Bingley skipper and top try-scorer from last season Guy Ford, Chris Jones a hooker from Caldy, Sam Cottrell from Stockport plus Gavin Woods, Alex Wright, Colin Dixon and Peter Towers.
Like Hoppers, Chester have made a successful start to the season with two victories, one at home against Birmingham Solihull and a narrow win at Paton Field over local rivals Caldy last Saturday. Someone’s 100% record will have to give on Saturday in what promises to be a close encounter.
For those supporters not travelling to watch the Firsts, there’s a selection games being played at Lightfoot Green, why not come along and take a look.
With two wins from two outings already under their belt, our Seconds take on Sedgley Park who have suffered two defeats at the start of the season. Hoppers Threes who are yet to record a victory are at home to De La Salle 2’s while the fourths play BAE Warton 1 and finally the Sixths play Vale of Lune 4 in what looks like a busy afternoon at Lightfoot Green.
Photographs courtesy of Michael Craig