Despite the attendance of Ionians defenders, Ally Murray manages to get the ball down for a try.
Preston Grasshoppers vs. Chester – Kick Off 2.30pm
Just one change from last weeks starting XV in the shape of twenty one year old Tahir El Mahdi on loan from Sale Sharks making his debut for the Hoppers who looks and exciting addition to Garth Dew’s selection options.
Tahir is a former Leicester Tigers, Newcastle Falcons and England 7’s player. On top of this he was once an X Factor contestant.
The bench shows a couple of changes from last Saturday with Oga Mabaya and Jack Walker replacing Rich Morton and Andy Irving.
1 John Peterson, 2 Phil Mills, 3 Pete Altham, 4 Reece Tomlinson, 5 Ally Murray, 6 Andy Napier, 7 Will Lees, 8 Chris Taylor, 9 Sam Kindred, 10 Lewis Allen, 11 Tahir El Mahdi, 12 Jack Ward, 13 Sam Russell, 14 Phil Baines (Captain), 15 John Embelton.
16 Brad Tuff, 17 Oga Mabaya, 18 Jack Walker, 19 Sam Whyte, 20 Tom Hurst.
Meanwhile Chester have announced the following squad of twenty one players which includes Sale Sharks George Nutt.
1 Gavin Woods, 2 Liam Gill, 3 James Whitelock-Wainwright, 4 George Nott 5 Ross White, 6 Will Bown 7 Mike Craven, 8 Guy Ford, 9 Matt Walsh, 10 Will Goodwin, 11 John Ketland, 12 Rhys Hayes, 13 Max Himbury, 14 Sean Green, 15 Tom Foden.
16 Rob Fitzgerald, 17 Matt Bevan, 18 Kyle Joseph, 19 Carwyn Lloyd-Williams, 20 James Preston, 21 Tom Evans.
Hoppers host Chester rugby Club this coming weekend and will want to change the trend of last season when the visitors did the double over them.
After travelling across the border into Yorkshire last Saturday in confident mood from an impressive home victory the previous week, they came across a very competent outfit in the shape of Hull Ionians and came away very much second best. There were some positives to be taken away from the performance however, which will no doubt looked at with encouragement together with the experience gained.
Our visitors look to be building on a successful first season when they finished in a very respectful fifth position and currently hold third place this season on the back of a five match unbeaten run which includes the scalp of current league leaders Ampthill. If Hoppers thought last week’s defending proved a big obstacle, a glance at the league table shows us that our visitors are even meaner in that department than Hull Ionians.
Before last season the two teams last met in competitive action during Hoppers short stay in North 1 back on the 5th of February 2005 when a relatively comfortable away victory was achieved by twenty points to five completing the double that season for Hoppers. Since then a couple of pre-season ‘training’ fixtures have taken place, both at Chester’s ground with honours shared until last season’s league fixtures.
Competitive games between the two clubs go back to almost fifty years ago when the inaugural game took place at our Lea ground on the 23rd of October 1965 where Hoppers won by a single point in a game of thirty three. Since then there have been twenty five meetings between the two clubs with our opponents winning fourteen to eleven by ourselves.
Photograph courtesy of Mike Forshaw