Photograph courtesy of Mike Craig
Stockport vs. Preston Grasshoppers – Team News
Head Coach Dave Baldwin is looking to keep the same line up as last weeks at Hull for this Saturday’s trip to Stockport, but with a few niggling injuries, late fitness checks will have to be made on one or two players.
The 2nd XV have an important clash with second placed Sedgley Park at Lightfoot Green, a match that will be well worth watching if you’re not travelling to Stockport.
A relatively short journey this coming Saturday as Hoppers face their second away fixture in two weeks, with Stockport’ Memorial Ground in Bramhall being the destination where I’m sure Hoppers “old boys” Zav’ and Jordan will have a warm welcome waiting for their former collegues!
Whilst the name Stockport is a new one on Hoppers long list of opponents, some of our older members will recall visiting the same venue when the Cheshire club played there under the name of Davenport before they metamorphosed into Stockport in 1992.
Hoppers and Davenport first meeting was thirty years ago on the 13th of February 1971 at the Bramhall ground when the home team came up with a narrow victory fourteen points to eight after a scoreless first half. That man Brierley featured again, although without a score this time. Also listed on Hoppers Team-Sheet that day where Pete Ashcroft and Stan Threlfall.
There have been twenty-one meetings between the two clubs, Hoppers winning fourteen, Davenport six with one ending in a three all draw. Fixtures were kept every year until the last meeting on the 17th of March 1990 at Lightfoot Green when the visitors replaced the scheduled opponents Wigan. We should have met once more, during the following month, but a Lancashire Cup Semi Final against LSH looks to have taken precedence.
Stockport appear to have coped with the transition up to level 4 rugby very well, and whilst they have had a mixture of results, their victory over promotion favourites Loughborough Students at the Memorial Ground made the rest of the league sit up and take notice. They’re currently one place above Hoppers and will provide a stern test for the visitors, especially if the “Hoppers Old Boys” have anything to do with it.
It was good to see “The Wigan Twins” Killian and Alex combining well at Hull to give the former a sparkling try at the start of the second half. It was just a pity the officials couldn’t match Alex’s pace at the beginning of the first half, or I’m certain they would have awarded a try for the perfectly good touchdown he made. They have both taken in their stride the transition to National 2 rugby and look set to become regulars in the 1st XV as the season progresses.
I’m sure no one will need reminding that the next home game for the First XV is against Hull Ionians on the 19th of November when Sean Long makes his rugby union debut for Hoppers. As usual there is a 2.30 kick off.
Link to ground directions if you are travelling by car to Stockport: