Rossendale vs. Preston Grasshoppers – 12th March 2022, Kick Off 3pm
Preston Grasshoppers make the short journey to East Lancashire to play local rivals this Saturday when they meet Rossendale RUFC who will no doubt be fielding a number of familiar faces from their time playing in the west of the county.
Hoppers record breaking victory over a hapless Kirkby Lonsdale last Saturday was contrasted by this week’s hosts heavy defeat at Cross Green, the home side no doubt smarting from their previous week’s defeat at the hands of Hoppers.
As one might imagine, Hoppers victory last Saturday re-wrote a number of records. The winning margin surpassed the ninety points to five victory over Otley which goes back a month short of ten years. A tally of ninety nine points is second only to the one hundred and four from a 2004 cup tie against Aldwinians. Fifteen tries, along with Ben Pearson’s twelve conversions (just squeezing past Jake Squirrell’s eleven from the game against Kendal 2018) are now also new records. To cap it all, Ally Murray (pictured above, left) played his two hundred and thirtieth League game, giving him the well earned title of most “Capped” Hoppers League Player and Matt Lamprey’s quintet of tries not only moved him to the top of the League try scoring table but ever closer to surpassing Olly Viney’s tally. Special mentions to Jordan Dorrington who has scored seven tries against Kirkby Lonsdale this season, Baille Leatham on his 1st XV debut and Dec Norrington scoring his first try for the team.
Rossendale have had something of an up-and-down season, but managed something Hoppers couldn’t do at Lightfoot Green in defeating Alnwick at Marl Pits and have won all three games played on home soil in 2022. Looking back to late November, Hoppers scored twenty six points to the visitors two penalty kicks.
Founded in Preston Grasshoppers Centenary season, our visitors have played in this division since promotion from North 2 West in 2009 via a play-off victory over Old Crossleyans. Their attempts to escape being thwarted by Sheffield and Dudley Kingswinford in play-off games at Marl Pits and Kingswinford back in 2017 & 2012 respectively.
Marl Pits will see the fifth meeting between Rossendale and Preston Grasshoppers senior sides, the second at this venue, with the Lancashire Cup semi-final tie in Fulwood back in May 1997 being the opener when the home side ran out comfortable winners to proceed to the Final, playing Orrell at The Woodlands.
As mentioned previously, the records show there have been just four previous meetings between the two clubs at 1st XV level, with Hoppers coming out winners on each occasion.
Departing at 11am, the 1869 Club will be taking the band of Hoppers supporters to East Lancashire were they will be either hoping that the home club have added to “The Wagon” with more provision for cover since Hoppers last visit, or that the weather is somewhat kinder. There’s a poster on the noticeboard for the trip with the usual lunch stop en-route. As usual, everyone’s welcome with the fare £20 and accompanied juniors travelling for £5 each.
- Oga MABAYA
- Christian TAYLOR (C)
- Pete ALTHAM
- Ally MURRAY
- Sam GALE
- Toby HARRISON
- Rob BRAMHALL
- Matt LAMPREY
- Harrison MOULDING
- Ben PEARSON
- Tyler SPENCE
- Sam STOTT
- Jordan DORRINGTON
- Will CLAPHAM
- Jacob BROWNE
- Olli TRIPPIER
- Ben DORRINGTON
- Jake SQUIRRELL