Hoppers welcome Leicester Lions

Date: 24 February 2016

Hoppers will once again attempt to entertain Leicester Lions this coming Saturday after their last meeting was postponed due to the weather back in early December and will be hoping to get back into the winning habit after the disappointment of a rare defeat in recent weeks at Otley’s Cross Green.

The Lions who have moved into striking distance of the play off position in recent weeks will be looking to keep the pressure on the two sides just above them in the table whilst Hoppers whose reverse last week wasn’t helped by the mounting run of injuries suffered throughout the game.

Our opponents this week are in a group of clubs below leaders Macclesfield all of whom are in with a chance of a play off decider against our Southern counterparts whilst Hoppers recent good run has lifted them into mid table and for now, well clear of the scrap to avoid relegation going on below them. Five teams are currently involved in this fight, with Huddersfield quickly being cut adrift due to the teams above picking up regular successes. Any two from Broadstreet, Luctonians, Tynedale, Sale and South Leicester look to be the likely candidates for the drop. Although Chester and Sandal could get sucked into the battle if teams below them pick up wins from their games in hand.

Saturday’s home fixture against the Lions will be the first of three, weather permitting of course, with a resurgent Luctonians our next opponents followed by the rearranged fixture against league leaders Macclesfield, all to be played at Lightfoot Green. So with all three of our visitors currently in good form, it won’t be easy for Hoppers to pick up victories from these fixtures.

National League Two matches against this coming weekend’s opponents began relatively recently when the Lions gained promotion into the RFU’s Level 4 as Champions of Midlands 1 at the end of the 2004/5 season which coincided with Preston Grasshoppers promotion from North 1. Since then both clubs have occupied places at this level.

The share of victories in the resulting encounters is exactly equal with each club winning ten of the contests and with the Lions winning just twice at Lightfoot Green and Hoppers the same number at Westleigh Park, showing the advantage in this particular fixture over the years favours the home side. Leicester Lions last success in Preston came five seasons ago with a twenty two points to five victory.

A look at our visitors recent outings shows something of a mixed bag of results since the turn of the new year. Narrow home victories over Chester and bottom of the league Huddersfield with a heavy defeat at the hands of Sedgley Park all came after a three match run of victories over Stourbridge, Harrogate on the road and a thirty two points to nil home win over Sandal. Defeat by a single point away at the resurgent Luctonians side was preceded by a big win over last weeks opponents Otley in their first game of 2016.

Photograph courtesy of Catherine Forshaw – Ally Murray poised to receive line out ball from Chris Taylor last Saturday at the very muddy Cross Green ground.

Back to Club News