1st XV visit Lions

Date: 05 April 2016

Leicester Lions vs. Preston Grasshoppers – Kick Off 2.00pm

Hoppers head for Leicester once again this weekend hoping for more success than their pointless trip just two Saturday’s back at Lions near neighbours South Leicester’s Welford Road ground.

Garth and his charges confidence will be boosted after a spirited performance against Harrogate last week with an unusual type of victory in more ways than one over the Yorkshire side.

It’s not often a game is completed without a try being scored and a look back through the records shows us that the last time Preston Grasshoppers played a 1st XV League Fixture with the same outcome was over twenty years ago on the 11th of November 1995 at Lightfoot Green, their opponents on the day being Stourbridge. Hoppers ran out victors on that occasion by nine points to three and the records show that Nick Bell was successful with two penalty attempts whilst Simon ‘Moose’ Mulholland scored his only 1st XV League points with the other from close to the touchline.

The records report that Hoppers success on the day was mainly due to an inspirational display from Skipper Mike Bailey and the attitude of Dorrington Vaughan who was making his debut. Dorrington’s son James went from being a member of Hoppers Mini Juniors to a successful professional footballer, spotted by Everton at the age of nine for whom he signed terms with. Everton are just one of a number of other football clubs he’s played for plus representing England at Junior levels. James currently dons the blue and white of Birmingham City.

This weeks opponents Leicester Lions have been amongst the play-off contenders over recent months and with just a handful of games remaining will need a dramatic decline in Sedgley Park’s performances during the coming weeks if they are to make the cut. As things stand, if they were to win all four remaining games and collect bonus points in each, they will need Sedgely to lose all five games they have left to play and pick up no more than a couple of bonus points in the process, something that looks highly unlikely. Stourbridge and Caldy are also still mathematically in the mix with the Midlanders having five more points than the Lions and Caldy. It all points to Sedgely Park making the trip to Old Albanian in early May to fight it out for the right to play National 1 rugby next season.

National League Two matches against this coming weekend’s opponents began relatively recently when the Lions gained promotion into the RFU’s Level 4 as Champions of Midlands 1 at the end of the 2004/5 season which coincided with Preston Grasshoppers promotion from North 1. Since then both clubs have occupied places at this level.

Leicester Lions crept into the lead with their win at Lightfoot Green a few weeks ago in the overall record between the two clubs, Hoppers winning ten of the contests and the Lions one more. Hoppers have had just two successes at Westleigh Park from their ten visits so it’s true to say the Leicestershire ground isn’t the happiest of hunting places, something Garth and his squad will be looking to put right this week.

Photograph courtesy of Mike Craig – Skipper Andy Napier, who along with the rest of Hoppers back row was the cornerstone of the victory last week.

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