Darlington Mowden Park vs. Preston Grasshoppers – KO 3.00pm
Hoppers side will be bolstered for the trip to Darlington with the inclusion of England Counties full back Sean Taylor together with Sam Kendall and Phil Mills. The addition of Sam Whyte on the bench is the only other change from last weeks squad.
Mo Mustafa swap places with Pete Altham, Craig Aikman starts at scrum half and Brad Tuff will be hooking this week.
The line up will be;
1 Danny Madden, 2 Brad Tuff, 3 Mo Mustafa, 4 Ally Murray, 5 Sam Wallbank, 6 Kilian Wallace, 7 Eddie Webster, 8 Dominic Moon (Captain), 9 Craig Aikman , 10 Lloyd Davies, 11 Sam Kendall, 12 Jack Ward, 13 Phil Baines, 14 Adam Birchall, 15 Sean Taylor.
16 Pete Altham, 17 Phil Mills, 18 Will Lees, 19 Richard Morton, 20 Sam Whyte.
Darlington Mowden Park have announced the following squad of players;
15. Chris McTURK 14. Shaun McCARTNEY 13. Cameron MITCHELL (Captain) 12. Chris PEACE 11. Callum MACKENZIE 10. Max CONNON 9. Andrew SMITH 1. Ralph APPLEBY
2. Ross DONEGHAN 3. Josh BAYFORD 4. Talite VAIOLETI 5. Chris CAMPBELL 6. Rory DUFF 7. Jack ALLCOCK 8. Guy van den DRIES
16. Ben SIMPSON 17. Ross WHITE 18. Ollie HODGSON 19. Zylon McGAFFIN 20. Lewis JOHNSTON
Hoppers are due to travel north for the first time this season next Saturday for their second visit to the Northern Echo Arena and play table topping Darlington Mowden Park.
After signs of a resurgence during the last weeks of January, a disappointing result in the home defeat at the hands of Luctonians in the mud was a definite setback. It can’t have been easy for Head Coach Michael Lough during the last few months, having to juggle his resources whilst players come and go through injury and various forms of unavailability. Hopefully some of these issues will have eased in time for Saturday’s game in the north east with a larger squad of players to choose from.
They say you make your own luck and things always appear to go against you when you are losing, but with half our kicks at goal striking the posts and not going over during the last two fixtures we could do with lady luck smiling on us in that department at least.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge for our opponents since the opening day of last season when we played Darlington Mowden Park at Lightfoot Green and it’s fair to say the thirty four point to nil scoreline didn’t give any indication that the North Easterners might be in the running for promotion the following season. Mowden Park certainly looked the business when they visited Lightfoot Green earlier this season and Hoppers will have to show the sort of determination on view over the last few games if they are out to bring anything worthwhile back home across the Pennines.
Skipper Dominic Moon will certainly be looking to make it a successful occasion and celebrate his one hundredth appearance for Preston Grasshoppers by motivating his charges and marking the occasion with his fiftieth league try for the club.
‘Mooney’ arrived at Hoppers from Halifax at the start of the 2009/10 season and his impressive scoring record for the club includes a record-breaking seven-try haul during the game against Otley at the end of the 2011/12 season setting an all time try scoring record in National Rugby for a Forward. Added to that, no one had and still hasn’t to my knowledge, ever scored more than seven tries in a match in the top four levels of League Rugby which goes back to 1987. His seven try haul equals Gaz Collins and Nick Royle’s efforts against Hull Ionians and Orrell respectively, plus the Ealing Trailfinder’s record breaking winger Phil Chesters who scored seven on two occasions a couple of season ago.
Fixtures between Hoppers and Mowden Park first started comparatively recently in the 2002/3 season when the clubs met on three occasions with Mowden Park winning the two league matches plus a very close run cup tie by two points out of a total of seventy eight scored on the day. It wasn’t until the end of the 2004/5 season that Hoppers finally achieved a victory after six failed attempts with a sixty five points to thirty eight home win. There have been a total of sixteen matches between the two clubs with the Darlington outfit having the upper hand with eleven victories against just three by Hoppers plus two drawn games.
Hoppers other senior sides this coming weekend face the following opponents;
Hoppers 2 vs. Macclesfield 2 (Home)
Hoppers 3 vs. Lymm 2 (Away)
Hoppers 4 vs. Vale of Lune 3 (Away)
Hoppers 5 vs. Thornton Cleveleys 2 (Home)
Hoppers 6 vs. Chorley 2 (Away)
Hoppers Women vs. Manchester (Home) Sunday
Photo by kind permission of Mike Craig.