Hoppers host leaders Macc

Date: 06 January 2016

Hoppers host ‘top-of-the-league’ Macclesfield this coming Saturday for their first home game of 2016 in what is likely to be their toughest encounter for some time when the home side will be looking to extend their recent good run to four games without defeat.

Our visitors have hit something of a glitch in recent games, losing at home to Sedgley Park and last week to fellow Cheshire side Caldy at Paton Field. But as a word of warning to Hoppers, sandwiched in-between the two defeats they trounced Sale at Priory Park. The two defeats were their only reverses of the season since losing on the opening day on the road at Stourbridge.

With Sedgley Park having lost both of their games since a convincing win over the league leaders, Macclesfield’s recent slip ups haven’t cost them, although Stourbridge’s recent run of six victories from seven outings will have them looking over their shoulder at another challenger for their current top spot.

Head Coach Garth Dew will have been somewhat disappointed in that having led from the second minute until into injury time, his side didn’t come away with a win last week at Sale, although a huge sigh of relief could be heard from the travelling supporters as Liam McGovern lost his footing with a conversion attempt which could well have secured victory for the home side and the ball fell to safety off an upright. However there were plenty of positives to take away from Heywood Road as his charges continue to improve their performances week on week.

Hoppers run of form since mid November has seen them create a nine point gap and have the home game against Leicester Lions in hand between themselves and Huddersfield who currently occupy the third relegation place in National 2 North. As a word of caution though, with the season only half completed much can happen in the second part. Complacency mustn’t set in with three very tough games ahead. After this week’s game against the league leaders there’s a trip to Caldy before Stourbridge pay us a visit.

The game at Priory Park earlier in the season was something of a disaster for the visitors who received a sound beating, returning to Lightfoot Green licking their wounds with just an early penalty to show for their efforts. Early injuries in the game and the powerful home pack’s domination being the telling factors, although I’m sure Garth Dew will be having a word with the officials about scrummaging before this encounter.

Prior to this seasons game in Cheshire, the two teams last met in National 2 North action during 2013/14 when on their way to promotion, Macclesfield were victorious both home and away. In fact the Cheshire side have run out victors on the last seven meetings between the two sides. The last Hoppers success coming in the fixture at Lightfoot Green back in January 2007 when Olly Viney scored a couple of tries in a thirty two points to eighteen victory. Hoppers did the double that season, winning thirty points to twenty at Priory Park when Juan Crous, now Sedgley Park’s Skipper crossed for a Hoppers try.

Competitive games between the two clubs go back to 1993 when the first meeting took place at Lightfoot Green on the 6th of November, Hoppers taking the spoils eighteen points to ten.

There have been twenty meetings between the two clubs at First Team level, with our visitors having the edge by just a single victory and one game drawn thirty six all. Victories in league fixtures has the advantage in Macclesfield’s favour by nine to five.

Photo courtesy of Mike Craig – Another call for Pete Altham to celebrate this Saturday when he’s due to make his fiftieth appearance for Preston Grasshoppers.

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