1st XV travel to Otley

Date: 06 October 2016

Preston Grasshoppers will be looking to end their current run of four consecutive defeats and add to their only success this season at Wharfedale, when they visit old rivals Otley at their Cross Green ground this coming Saturday.

After knocking on the door for long periods last Saturday at Scunthorpe, Hoppers just couldn’t manage to find the right combination to cross the try line. Head Coach Garth Dew will be hoping a return to Yorkshire will hold the key to a second successive victory in that part of the country.

Their task won’t be easy though as Otley hold a 100% record on home soil this season, defeating both Wharfedale in a nine try contest and narrowly over Cheshire side Chester a couple of weeks ago. On their travels however, they’ve still record a victory with the home side losing heavily last week at Caldy returning home ‘try-less’ against a team Hoppers managed to score three against the previous Saturday. Their other trips away from Yorkshire this season have resulted in heavy defeats at the hands of both Sedgley Park and at Sale on the opening day of the season.

Before relegation at the end of the 2010/11 season into National 2 North, Otley had lived in the upper levels of league rugby since gaining promotion at the end of the 1990/91 season from the Courage Division 4 North. When our two clubs met at Lightfoot Green that season, Hoppers came out on top by sixteen points to four. Hoppers and Otley next met in league action during our first season at Level 3 rugby in 1999/2000 when the Yorkshire side did the double over Hoppers. This was to be for just one year, with Otley gaining promotion once again.

The playing record between this week’s opponents goes way back to April 1929 when Otley played Hoppers whilst they were on an Easter tour. The home team ran out winners that day but suffered a comprehensive defeat the following season at Otley’s Cross Green ground against what was thought to be one of the strongest sides in Yorkshire.

There was then a considerable gap in time before the two clubs met again, but once that happened in 1961, games were played each season through into the “Leagues” period.

The records show that there have been forty five previous meetings between the two clubs with this Saturday’s opponent holding a slender lead of just one victory plus one match being drawn ten points each back in the 1994/95 season and five others being cancelled. Amongst the games that have been played, League encounters number just thirteen with Hoppers holding a slight advantage of one victory.

Photo by kind permission of Mike Craig – Billy Woof is set to make his 50th 1st XV appearance for Hoppers

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