1st XV’s tough trip to Luctonians

Date: 05 November 2012

Luctonians vs. Preston Grasshoppers – Kick Off 2.15pm

Matt Hughes touches down to give Hoppers a dramatic late victory against Bromsgrove last Saturday. Photo courtesy of Mike Craig.

Head Coach Michael Lough has just a couple of changes to his line-up from last week. ‘Man of the Match’ Gareth Gore takes an enforced break and is replaced by Ali Murray. The ‘front row rotation’ procedure continues and it’s Rich Morton’s turn for a starting place this week whilst the backs stay unchanged.

Killian Wallace and Josh Purnell return to an already strong bench.

1. Andy Irving, 2. Phil Mills, 3. Rich Morton, 4. Ali Murray, 5. Wayne Steel, 6. Conor Murphy,7. Eddie Webster, 8. Dominic Moon, Captain.9. Sam Kindred. 10. Karl Fitzpatrick, 11. Adam Birchall, 12. Jack Ward, 13. Phil Baines, 14. Matt Hughes,15. Sean Taylor.

Replacements: 16. Chris Gale/Dan Madden , 17. Alan Holmes, 18. Killian Wallace, 19. Will Keenan, 20. Josh Purnell.

Hoppers will be hoping to have added another ‘W’ to there seven match winning sequence when they return from the long journey south to the rural setting of Mortimer Park the home of Luctonians. This will be just the third visit to the Herefordshire ground, last season’s journey resulting in a narrow victory to the home team after an unfortunate injury to Nathan Fowles which kept him out of rugby for a long period. Happily Nathan recovered in time to help Hoppers finish third in the table at the end of the season and has since been seen in a Sale Sharks shirt.

Luctonians currently sit exactly half way in the league table but fourteen points behind Hoppers who sit just three places above them, and to date haven’t been having as successful a season than their previous two at Level four. Traditionally Saturday’s opponents are very much stronger on their home patch than on their travels as is reflected in our past meetings, Hoppers clocking up ninety nine points in the two meetings at Lightfoot Green whilst Luctonians hold two home victories over us.

The home side got their season off to a relatively good start, but have faltered somewhat in recent weeks when teams from the top half of the table have been their opponents. They suffered their first home defeat of the season two weeks ago when Sheffield Tigers were the victors and lost last weekend at still unbeaten Ionians.

All in all, there promises to be a contest between two equally matched teams if Hoppers can remember there are two halves to a match!!

Conor Murphy on the charge, Photograph courtesy of Mike Craig.

For those supporters who are not making the long journey south, there’s a couple of games being played at Lightfoot Green, both with a 2:15 kick off time. The undefeated 2nd XV take a well earned rest as they have a bye in the first round of the Raging Bull Cup.

Meanwhile, Hoppers 4ths play Leigh 3rds in the Raging Bull Bowl & Hoppers 6ths entertain Clitheroe 2nds in the Competition’s Plate.

Lets hope the brush gets another outing come Saturday evening!

Sunday sees the Senior Colts entertain Stockport with a 2pm kick off time.

The next home game for the First XV sees them entertain Caldy on the 17th  of November with a 2.30 kick off time.

Link to ground directions if you are travelling by car to Luctonians: http://www.mortimerpark.com/location.htm

Or it you’re using Sat Nav, the Post Code is HR6 9SB

And good luck to anyone trying to find it, I’ve been there twice and had four different journeys!


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