2nd/3rd XV Cup Finals Preview

Date: 29 April 2015

Saturday sees the 2nd and 3rd XV’s head to Sandbach for the climax to their season as they both take part in the BEST Finals Day being hosted by the Cheshire club.

Both sides have had strong seasons with the 2nd XV finishing third in the Batemnan BMW Premier League whilst the 3rd XV managed to go one better and finish second in the County Courier Services Division 2 North, securing promotion in the process.

The 3rd XV will be looking to beat Leigh 2 in the Brooke Edgley Specialist Technical Services Trophy at 1.45pm with the 2nd XV then taking on Vale of Lune 2 in the Brooke Edgley Specialist Technical Services Cup at 3.30pm. You can read previews of both games below.

Preston Grasshoppers 3 vs Leigh 2 – Brooke Edgley Specialist Technical Services Trophy – 1.45pm

Hoppers 3rds began their cup run back in October ‘away’ at Hoppers 4ths and ran out comfortable 57-0 winners on a dreary wet day at Lightfoot Green. A sterner challenge awaited in the next round, again away, this time to current holders Warrington 3rds. After a very physical, forwards dominated encounter, Hoppers notched a couple of late tries to seal a hard fought victory and a place in the quarter finals.

3rd XV vs Leigh

A third consecutive away day in the cup saw Liverpool St Helens 2nds the opponents. The game began with a ferocious, end to end start but after a spell of controlled possession, Hoppers achieved a comfortable 40-18 win. Yet another away day at Trafford Metrovick 2nds stood between Hoppers and a place in the final. A superb team effort blew their Manchester counterparts away and the result was never in doubt.

In the 2 games between Hoppers and Leigh this season both sides have recorded a home victory. Leigh managed to sneak a 17-16 victory in Leigh but Hoppers looked comfortable in a 27-7 win at Lightfoot Green later in the season. The photo above was taken at Lightfoot Green earlier in the season when the two sides met.

The cup run has been a whole squad effort and a victory in the final would be the icing on the cake of a successful season with promotion already won.

Preston Grasshoppers 2 vs Vale of Lune 2 – Brooke Edgley Specialist Technical Services Cup – 3.00pm

Hoppers 2nd XV are seeking to win the knockout cup for the first time since 2013 and for the third time in total. Their place in Saturday’s final was secured with wins over Caldy in November and today’s hosts Sandbach in the mid-March semi-final. Young’s men triumphed over the side from Paton Field with a nail biting 34-31 win at Lightfoot Green, coming back with a last gasp try having trailed for most of the match. Victory in the semi-final was more straightforward as Hoppers ran out convincing 56-0 winners.

It has been a season of contrasting emotions for Young’s men as they qualified comfortably for Conference A, finishing the first round of matches just behind Sedgley Tigers. Hoppers looked well placed for a genuine assault on the title after January’s 32-6 demolition of the Tigers but that performance marked something of a zenith. A run of four defeats in six matches saw them slip to third place in Conference A and left to focus on the Cup-Final.

At the time of writing Hoppers have recovered their form, having crushed local rivals Fylde Hawks at Lightfoot Green on April 11th. The match saw a brace of tries and another fine performance from 17 year old Jacob Browne. The full-back/centre has emerged after Christmas and made a lasting impression on his team mates and coaching staff alike. In recent seasons a number of players have graduated from the second team and made their mark with the first team. Hoppers prides itself on its thriving junior section and the Lightfoot Lane production line is in good shape.

Preston Grasshoppers 2nds 34 - 31 Caldy 2nds November 29,_15904247871_l

Key men in Hoppers quest for honours this season have been skipper Richard “Dicky” Wardell, prop Oga Mabaya, Flankers Matt Frings (sadly injured in the new year, pictured above) & Luke Clitheroe, outstanding young stand-off Alex Ward, and the ever consistent Ryan Marshall.

Everybody involved is looking forward to the final and relish the chance to take on old friends Vale of Lune. Let’s hope it’s a great game and that the crowd are entertained.

Good luck to both teams, hopefully there will be some silverware to report on next week. You can follow the scores by following @RugbyHoppers on twitter where we will be updating the score.

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