1st XV off to Wharfedale

Date: 01 October 2018

Wharfedale vs. Preston Grasshoppers

Preston Grasshoppers travel to meet opposition from Yorkshire for the third consecutive time this Saturday, hoping they don’t serve up a ‘last minute take away’ once again! This time Wharfedale will be the hosts at ‘The Avenue’.

Our hosts have had a mixed bag of results so far this season, narrowly losing their last home game against Otley but can boast beating Sedgley Park on their visit to Yorkshire. Their other success came on the opening day of the season when they travelled to newcomers Peterborough Lions and came away with a comprehensive victory.

For those who didn’t travel to Otley last week, Hoppers almost totally dominated possession during the first forty but the three tries scored seemed a lot less than their territorial advantage deserved. The situation screamed out for the obvious Plan B! Conor Trueman’s try in the opening minutes of the second period looked to have given the visitors everything that was needed to take all five points. It wasn’t to be though, with the home team gradually gaining more and more impetus before the fateful eightieth minute.

As for this weeks opponents Wharfedale, after serving twenty consecutive terms in National 2 the home club finally succumbed to their one and only relegation at the end of the 2015/16 season and will be playing host to a Hoppers 1stXV for only the second time in a competitive match since our meetings during the visitors three year stint playing rugby at Level 3. The last of those games ended in a heavy defeat for Hoppers at Freshfields on the 19thof January 2002. However, Preston Grasshoppers will take heart from the memory of our last visit to this particular part of Yorkshire when they defeated Wharfedale in the opening game of the season before last. Conor Trueman sealing the win with a tremendous long range try in the final minutes, a victory which was only the second for Hoppers at that particular venue from a total of six visits including a pre-season practice game.

Hoppers and Wharfedale have met in League action on just ten occasions in the past with the Yorkshire side leading the way with six wins against Hoppers four. Before the two clubs met each other in League action, there were four Club Games, the first of these taking place at Lightfoot Green back on the 1stof April 1991 when our opponents went under the name of UpperWharfedale in the fixture book and whilst Hoppers were competing in National 3 North, our opponents league fixtures took place two levels below in North 2. A sign of things to come from the Yorkshire club came with the visitors achieving a narrow victory on the day by ten points to four. In the return fixture the following season in Yorkshire, Hoppers recorded their first victory at that venue by eighteen points to twelve.

Apart from the pre-season practice game over in The Dales prior to the 2009/10 season in which the home side came out winners by thirty eight points to twenty one, there have been fourteen matches played between the two clubs at 1stXV level with Wharfedale leading the way by ten wins to Hoppers five.

Team News

The Hoppers side sees several changes from last time out at Otley with Rouban Birch, Teddy Leatherbarrow and Alex Ward all coming into the starting lineup. The bench sees a couple of new faces with twice Oxford Blue Noah Miller in line to make his debut alongside Matt Crow who joined Hoppers in the summer from Chester.

  1. Oga Mabaya
  2. PJ Millea
  3. Peter Altham
  4. Luke Procter
  5. Rouban Birch
  6. Alastair Murray
  7. Teddy Leatherbarrow
  8. Matthew Lamprey
  9. James Gough
  10. Thomas Davidson
  11. Conor Trueman
  12. James Fitzpatrick
  13. Sam Stott
  14. Tyler Spence
  15. Alex Ward

16. Noah Miller
17. Oliver Trippier
18. Jack Edwards
19. Jake Squirrell
20. Matt Crow

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