PGRFC vs Bromsgrove, 9th November 2013, 2.30pm
It’s rotation news for the team selected for tomorrow to play Bromsgrove with Mo Mustafa swapping places with Rich Morton and Andy Irving taking a place in the Second Row. Sean Taylor returns at full back in the only other change to the starting line up from last week.
Joab Murphy and Adam Birchall return to take up places on the bench.
1 Dan Madden, 2 Phil Mills, 3 Mo Mustafa, 4 Andy Irving, 5 Sam Wallbank, 6 Kilian Wallace, 7 Will Lees, 8 Dominic Moon (Captain), 9 Sam Kindred, 10 Lewis Allen, 11 Phil Baines, 12 Jack Ward, 13 Karl Fitzpatrick, 14 Matt Hughes, 15 Sean Taylor.
16 Alan Holmes, 17 Richard Morton, 18 Joab Murphy, 19 Craig Aikman, 20 Adam Birchall.
After getting back to winning ways last week over in Humberside in a game which included a number of unusual circumstances, Hoppers will be hoping to maintain their unbeaten record over Worcestershire side Bromsgrove this coming Saturday.
Back to last week at Hull and after giving a sixteen point start to the home side during the first quarter, Hoppers at last got back into the game and although they were outscoring the home side by four tries to one they still trailed on the scoreboard. The visitors final try eventually gave them enough breathing space to secure the five point victory and in such climb a couple of places in the league table.
There were a number of notable milestones and achievements by Hoppers players at the Ferens Ground where Matt Hughes celebrated his one hundredth appearance with a try, Will Lees’ opening score was his first in a Hoppers shirt and Danny Madden’s double was to say the least, an unusual event for a prop forward.
An interesting fact has arisen from the last two Saturdays results in that both our opponents have played Caldy and in doing so Hull conceded forty nine points at Paton Field whilst Bromsgrove just three at home last weekend. So whilst this Saturday’s visitors languish in the bottom half of the table this may well be due to early season poor form and a far better set of opponents will be facing Preston Grasshoppers than their league position suggests.
This weeks game should see Phil Mills make his fiftieth appearance plus Kilian Wallace play in his fiftieth League game, all depending on selection of course.
As mentioned previously, although Bromsgrove didn’t start this season too well winning just once in their first six games, a couple of home victories in their last three outings have pulled them away from the relegation area and will have inspired some confidence. So they are sure to provide stiff opposition and Hoppers must keep their focus especially during the crucial first quarter.
This will be just the fifth meeting between Hoppers and ‘Grove and with the first game at Finstall Park ending all square and Hoppers winning their three previous home fixtures plus last year at Bromsgrove, the hosts will be looking to keep their unbeaten record over our visitors. The first meeting with this week’s opponents here in Preston, took place over forty years ago at The Lea Ground on the 16th of December 1972. Bromsgrove stepping in to replace a scheduled fixture against Orrell who had a National Cup game that day. The game resulted in a twenty six points to six victory for the home club.
With the league season reaching its one third mark this coming Saturday and the top four meeting each other, an early indication of how things might finish come the end of April might be a little clearer come tea time Saturday. After seeing both Stourbridge and Darlington Mowden Park in recent weeks I thought the Midlands outfit hadn’t improved from last season (in fact they weren’t as good) whilst Mowden Park certainly had. Our game against Sedgley Park was at the beginning of the season and I thought they were quite a bit short of the two leaders. We have still to play Macclesfield so only their form is available and this looks pretty good at the moment as they sit atop the table undefeated. If Macclesfield win at Stourton Park and Mowden Park defeat Sedgley, Stourbridge might find the task ahead too difficult and once again miss out on promotion. There’s still a long way to go in the season and Saturday’s results might not turn out the way I’m thinking, but if they do I believe it will be a battle for the top two places between the County of Durham and Cheshire clubs.
Other games being played at Lightfoot Green this Saturday are Hoppers Thirds entertaining Aldwinians Seconds whilst the Fourths play Lymm Thirds.
Photographs courtesy of Sid Wallace