Hoppers Welcome Long-Time Opponents Kendal

Date: 18 January 2018

Preston Grasshoppers face another long time opponent this week at Lightfoot Green in the shape of Cumbrian side Kendal who usually bring along with them a large and vocal following.

Words by Mike Forshaw, photo by Mike Craig

Last week’s victory over lowly Birkenhead Park once again showed that any opponent cannot be underestimated. The home side, with a number of recently acquired players put up stiff opposition for two thirds of the game before finally being overrun. With more similar performances they may very well survive relegation once the newcomers find their feet. Hoppers are now discovering that each week their opponents are using their ‘unbeaten’ title as motivation, treating the game as their ‘Cup Final’ and make no mistake, Kendal will be no different!

The team travelling from their impressive new Mint Bridge ground have had a somewhat up and down season in what is currently their second term at Level 5 although like Hoppers they’ve reached National 1 status in their time. Kendal inflicted yet another heavy defeat on luckless Pocklington last Saturday so will travel to Lightfoot Green with some confidence. Last week’s victory was in fact Kendal’s first on the new grass surface, their other two over Birkenhead Park and local rivals Kirkby Lonsdale being played on the artificial surface. So Hoppers 3G surface won’t be anything new for the Cumbrians as they had the same surface laid on their Number 2 pitch and boast a 100% record theron.

The first time Preston Grasshoppers played in Kendal was back in 1872, albeit not  the current incumbents of the Kendal Rugby Club title. Fixtures against this weekend’s opponents commencing during their inaugural season back in 1906 with a three-all-draw at our Riverside Ground. The return fixture at Maude’s Meadow resulted in a victory to the home team by the only score of the game. This weekend’s game in Preston will be the 107th between the two old clubs and the 56th in Lancashire.

After their rare victory in Kendal earlier this season and if Hoppers are successful come Saturday tea time, this season will have gone some way in clawing back the current overall deficit that exists. Before this week’s game, the Mint Bridge side have sixty two victories to their name against Hoppers thirty five with nine games being drawn an eight cancelled. As for league meetings, it couldn’t be closer with both sides having won fifteen each.




The 1869 Club have a poster on the noticeboard for a trip with the usual lunch stop en-route into new territory for many of the travellers next Saturday with Kirkby Lonsdale RUFC being the destination. As usual, everyone’s welcome with the fare £15 and accompanied juniors travelling for £5. The coach departs at 10:45 and will leave Kirkby Lonsdale around an hour after the final whistle.


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