Hoppers Host Lymm In Top Of The Table Clash

Date: 23 November 2017

After a two week rest period Hoppers are set to play yet another crucial game this Saturday when they entertain second placed Lymm at Lightfoot Green. With both sides proudly holding an unbeaten record so far this season, something will very likely crack!

Words by Mike Forshaw, Photo by Mike Craig

Head coach Paul Arnold on the season so far and what to expect from Lymm

The Cheshire side boast the meanest defence in the Northern Premier League by some distance, having only conceded an average of nine points per game as against sixteen passing through the Hoppers defence.

Lymm have the same playing record as Hoppers so far this season, winning nine with their drawn game coming at Kendal and are just two points behind ourselves due to a couple of non bonus point wins. Like Hoppers they have won on the road at Rossendale and Sandal but probably their best achievement to date was the  comprehensive victory at Hull’s Ferens Ground where Hoppers were held to a draw.

A couple of weeks ago the Preston Grasshoppers playing squad, support staff and followers once again returned over the Pennines carrying with them a hard earned victory to celebrate from their latest successful trip, this time from a rare victory over Harrogate. It took some time for Hoppers to fully impose themselves on the formidable Harrogate defence but a converted try on half time opened the floodgates for an almost totally dominant second period. With the referee issuing a flurry of cards during the final quarter when the home side became frustrated, Harrogate camped on the visitors line for the final plays of the game, but a resolute defence held them at bay and the players left the field to rapturous applause from their large band of travelling supporters.

The win at Harrogate gave the twenty eight players who have appeared in a 1st XV shirt so far this season the distinction of equalling a significant Preston Grasshoppers League Record. Back in the 2004-2005 season, when Hoppers last played their rugby at this level, they played ten consecutive league games before suffering defeat. After losing at Morley in the second game of that particular season their unbeaten run remained intact until losing at home to Hull Ionians early in the New Year. This feat was a duplicate of the sequence from the National 2 North promotion season of 1998-1999 when they started the season with a victory over Whitchurch and didn’t lose a league game until New Brighton were successful at Lightfoot Green in early December. There’s a common thread involving these previous two records, let’s hope it’s an omen for this season!

Lymm travel to Lightfoot Green on Saturday to become the fourth in a line of League debutants in Preston this season and although the clubs have met outside league action at first team level in the past, this will be the first time Hoppers will be playing hosts.

Our records show just a couple of meetings, the first back on the 19th of February 1983 when Lymm gave Hoppers a fixture after Solihull couldn’t fulfil the scheduled one. The Cheshire side won that first game on home soil by twenty points to Hoppers fifteen, only for the visitors to gain revenge almost twenty years ago to the day of this weeks game on the 6th of December 1997 at the same venue when they were victorious by thirty nine points to seventeen.

Here’s the team:

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