Preston Grasshoppers vs. Luctonians – Kick Off 2.30pm
With Hoppers Lancashire County players involved at the Woodlands against Yorkshire, Head Coach Michael Lough has the chance to once again give some of the youngsters their opportunity.
1. Chris Gale, 2. Brad Tuff, 3. Tom McGuinness, 4. Jonny Doney, 5. Alex Austin, 6. Andy Napier, 7. Killian Wallace, 8. Will Keenan, Captain. 9. Sam Kindred, 10. Karl Fitzpatrick, 11. Anthony Elliott, 12. Ollie Farley, 13. Adam Birchall, 14. Greg Horsfall, 15. Lewis Allen.
Replacements: 16. Danny Madden, 17. Alan Holmes, 18. Harry Reddick, 19. Mark Murray, 20. Craig Aikman.
This weekends belated visitors from Herefordshire in the shape of Luctonians will help Hoppers draw the curtains on what has been another successful season. One more home victory would compensate for the narrow defeat in the Lancashire Cup Final which shouldn’t take the gloss off last weekend’s other successes for the home side’s teams plus the players representing their county side.
With a ‘most ever league points scored’ record already in the bank, would it be possible to score a further forty seven this Saturday to make it one thousand for the season. A tough ask against anybody, but with Hoppers high scoring home record against this weekend’s visitors, who knows?
The current total of one thousand and two in both League and Lancashire Cup games this season is already a club record, beating the previous best of nine hundred and fifty three from nearly thirty years ago. This season’s tally is from thirty one outings against thirty four during 1983/84.
Another first already achieved this season is the one hundred league points accumulated so far which has been assisted by the number of bonus points scored this season, something that has been lacking in seasons past.
A much changed squad of players in last weekends home victory over already relegated Westoe threw up a number of firsts for some of Hoppers youngsters. Danny Madden’s brace of tries were his first points for Hoppers as were the seventeen scored by Ollie Farley in his first start for the senior side, adding to an early try with six successful conversions. Congratulations to the four First XV débutantes from last week in the shape of Greg Horsfall, Ollie Hamilton, Dominic Aspinall and Liam Launders.
Moving on to this weekends opponents from the Midlands, visitors Luctonians who currently sit exactly half way in the league table twenty seven points behind Hoppers haven’t been having as successful a season as last term in National 2 North. Traditionally Saturday’s visitors are very much stronger on their home patch than on their travels as is reflected in our past meetings and backed up by this seasons statistics. After winning their first two games on the road at Stockport and Hull they went on to lose the next ten before victories in their last two trips to Birmingham Solihull and Huddersfield during April turned the corner for them.
After last Saturdays round of fixtures, the make up of our league for next season has become a little clearer. Hull Ionians finished Champions of our league leaving season long leaders Stourbridge a nervous home play off against Worthing Raiders this Saturday for the right to play National 1 rugby next season.
A narrow home victory over Fylde wasn’t enough to save Macclesfield from the drop so they and last Monday’s Cup Final opponents Sedgley Park have been relegated from National 1 and will be playing at Lightfoot Green next season in National 2 North.
Replacing Huddersfield, Stockport and last week’s opponents Westoe will be Harrogate and Chester plus one other if Stourbridge defeat Worthing, possibly Amptill who reside in Bedfordshire, Champions of Midlands 1. Other contenders for the level transfer would be Cambridge or Hartbury College. All will be revealed in the coming weeks so keep an eye on the website.