Preston Grasshoppers vs. Caldy – KO 2.30pm
Head Coach Michael Lough adds just one name to his squad from last week, Gareth Gore making a welcome return after his one week absence and with Wayne Steel named amongst the replacements, Ali Murray keeps his place after starting at Luctonians. The ‘front row rotation’ procedure continues and it’s Alan Holmes turn for a starting place. There’s also a swap from starting line up to bench between Will Keenan and Eddie Webster whilst the backs stay unchanged once again.
1. Andy Irving, 2. Alan Holmes, 3. Rich Morton, 4. Ali Murray, 5. Gareth Gore, 6. Conor Murphy, 7. Will Keenan, 8. Dominic Moon, Captain. 9. Sam Kindred, 10. Karl Fitzpatrick, 11. Adam Birchall, 12. Jack Ward, 13. Phil Baines, 14. Matt Hughes, 15. Sean Taylor.
Replacements: 16. Phil Mills, 17. Wayne Steel, 18. Dan Madden, 19. Eddie Webster, 20. Josh Purnell.
Hoppers top of the table Second fifteen’s line up against second place Caldy which kicks off at 2.15pm at Lightfoot Green looks like this:
1. Chris Gale, 2. Allen Martindale, 3. John Peterson, 4. Alex Austin, 5. Craig Steel, 6. Kilian Wallace, 7. Andy Napier, 8. Sam Gale, 9. Matt Conway. 10. Lewis Allen, 11. Anthony Elliott, 12. Cameron Berry Captain. 13. Harry Reddick, 14. Andrew Pollock. 15. Ollie Yates.
Replacements: 16. Josh Thundercliffe, 17. Terry McGuire. 18. Josh Oldland
England vs Australia
We will be recording the England vs Australia game and showing it after the conclusion of the 1st XV game on Saturday.
Hoppers will be hoping to get back to winning ways after a hard fought draw at Luctonians last week when Cheshire side Caldy are the opposition. After a five match losing run against top teams, last Saturday our visitors managed to lower Hull Ionians colours for the first time this season.
Saturday will see an unusual event when both the first and second teams take on opposition from the same club, something that hasn’t happened so often since league rugby was formed for all teams in the North West of England. If the prospect of what is usually a cracking game between two 1st XV’s isn’t enough, there is what promises to be a spicy prospect in store on Pitch 2 where top of the table Hoppers 2nd’s entertain second placed Caldy in the Bateman BMW Premier League’s match of the day.
Back to the main event and this Saturday’s visitors are currently fielding a much changed squad than the one who finished in the play-off position back in April, only missing out on promotion to National 1 after a narrow defeat at the hands of Richmond. According to reports they have been ravaged by injuries and on top of that lost a couple of important team members during the summer. Caldy started this season as they finished last, but since their away victory against Hull on the last day of September they were without a victory from the resulting five games until last Saturday’s tremendous result against previously unbeaten Ionians. If last Saturday’s Yorkshire scalp wasn’t warning enough for Hoppers, the five defeats were at the hands of table topping Stourbridge and all four teams immediately below us in the league table.
Whilst Caldy finished second to Hoppers third at the end of last season, Preston Grasshoppers and Champions Loughborough Students were the only sides to complete the double over our rivals from Cheshire.
The Inaugural senior game against today’s visitors was a pre-season warm-up fixture here at Lightfoot Green in prior to the 2004/5 season. Caldy had climbed the league ladder with a succession of promotions from the depths of South Lancashire and Cheshire 3, eventually gaining promotion to N2N as Champions of North 1 in 2007.
There have been ten league meetings between the two clubs, all in consecutive seasons since Caldy’s last promotion. Both clubs being successful five times, so things couldn’t be more even.
Phil Baines will make his fiftieth league appearance for Hoppers this Saturday against Caldy, if selected! Since joining Hoppers just two seasons ago from St. Helens RL the former England U18 RL player has scored twenty three tries from his half-century of games, a good average in anyone’s books. Talking of consistent try scorers, it’s worth noting that Adam Birchall kept up his try-a -game last Saturday at Luctonians.
Other games being played at Lightfoot Green this coming Saturday with a 2.15 KO are:
Hoppers 5th’s vs. Vale of Lune 4th’s
Hoppers 6th’s vs. Bolton 4th’s
Sunday sees our Senior Colts entertain Wilmslow and the Juniors play Vale of Lune. See noticeboard for kick off times.
Next week sees the First XV make a relatively short journey across the Pennines to play Otley and the 1869 Club are hoping to run a coach. Look for the sheet on the Noticeboard to add your name.