UPDATE – GAME POSTPONED
Club Statement Unfortunately, due to the worsening situation with Covid-19 infections the game with Otley tomorrow afternoon and all other home games have been postponed. Pre-match hospitality has been cancelled with all booking deferred until the game is rearranged. Stay safe.
Preston Grasshoppers vs. Otley, 18th December 2021, 2:30pm
Preston Grasshoppers welcome top of the table (and undefeated this season) Otley to Lightfoot Green this Saturday for what will be their final League game of 2021.
Along with a team full of confidence, Otley will no doubt be bringing with them across the Pennines a throng of supporters who will be hoping for an early Christmas present. Hoppers and their followers on the other hand will be hoping to deny them such pleasures.
The home side will have had faith in themselves restored since their last game at Lightfoot Green with the demolition of Burnage last Saturday, where the icing was added to the cake with a rare try from the squads longest serving player, Oga Mabaya.
More about Oga and another long standing Hopper in the New Year, both of whom are approaching significant milestones for the club.
First team debuts have been made by Josh Rourke, Dec Norrington and Alex Carson in the last two games and Chris Taylor’s hat trick away from Lightfoot Green can be added to Matt and Jordan’s from earlier trips. Hoppers almost beat their long standing record away score at Burnage, just a few points short in a game which they denied the opposition from scoring a try for a fourth time this season.
Like Hoppers, our visitors were relegated into this division in 2020 and although the season is only at the half way stage, it will take something quite dramatic to occur for Otley not to gain the promotion they invested in shortly afterwards.
Otley felt relegation would have been avoided if the curtailed season had continued as they had won their last game, were only a few of points from safety and had the already doomed Hoppers and Scunthorpe still to play. However, it wasn’t to be and here is were we’re at!
With the Yorkshire side’s formation taking place a handful of years before ours, it’s no surprise that the playing record between this week’s opponents goes way back, although it took sixty years for them to actually meet. The first encounter was in April 1929 when Otley played Hoppers whilst they were on an Easter tour. The home team ran out winners that day but suffered a comprehensive defeat the following season at Otley’s Cross Green ground against what was thought to be one of the strongest sides in Yorkshire.
There was then a considerable gap in time before the two clubs met again, but once that happened in 1961, games were played each season through into the “Leagues” period.
The records show that there have been fifty two previous games played between the two clubs with this Saturday’s opponents holding a slender lead of just two victories plus two matches being drawn ten points each back in the 1994/95 season and the afore mentioned nil-all draw after the last meeting. Five others being cancelled. Amongst the games that have been played, League encounters number just sixteen with seven victories credited to Hoppers and one more to our visitors.
Just a reminder that the 1869 Club are running a coach to the next game which will be breaking new ground at York RUFC with a lunch taken prior to the game. Due to the travel distance it will be an early start from the Clubhouse, so keep an eye out for further details.