Preston Grasshoppers vs. Westoe – Kick Off 2.30pm
After three successive games away from Preston, Hoppers will be looking forward to having their first home fixture for six weeks when they entertain Westoe this coming Saturday. They will also hope a home fixture helps them build on last weeks hard earned victory at Hull to bring a second consecutive ‘double’.
At this stage of last season, Westoe were in contention for promotion lying joint second with Caldy after heading the table during the early part of the season, whilst Hoppers were in the same position as they find themselves today in fifth spot. However things had already started to change with a surprising away defeat at Nuneaton starting their slide down the table but not before they gave Hoppers a thrashing at Wood Lane the following week. Injuries and players leaving the South Shield’s outfit during the second half of the season were the main reasons for them slipping down the table eventually finishing in sixth place after a very promising start.
This season has seen our visitors struggle near the bottom end of the table and currently occupying the third relegation position some eight points behind Birmingham Solihull who sit in one of the safe spots and have a game in hand over Westoe.
League fixtures against today’s opponents began relatively recently when the North East club gained promotion into the National Leagues from North 1 at the end of the 2008/9 season. In the six meetings since their promotion, Hoppers have won the first and last of four fixtures at Wood Lane, and both teams have a victory at Lightfoot Green.
Club fixtures between the two clubs go back to the 1975/6 season when Hoppers won at Lightfoot Green by thirteen points to four on the 11th of October and there has been a total of fourteen meetings, Hoppers leading the way with nine victories to Westoe’s four with one ending all square.
With Sean Taylor featuring near the top of the division’s try scoring table it’s interesting to look at the youngsters league record together with some of his team mates in comparison with Head Coach Michael Lough who held the League try scoring record for a good number of years with his twenty seven during our promotion season 1998/9.
Michael Lough – 152 Appearances – 59 tries
Sean Taylor – 93 Appearances – 39 tries
Dominic Moon – 66 Appearances – 43 tries
Richard Morton – 155 Appearances – 35 tries
Matt Hughes – 79 Appearances – 44 tries
Phil Baines – 55 Appearances – 23 tries
These youngsters will need to be fairly special if they are to match such famous try scorers from Hoppers league history as the following:
Iain Bruce – 85 Appearances – 57 tries
Tom Hughes – 66 Appearances – 32 tries (Mooney’s already bettered this average)
Gary Monaghan – 141 Appearances – 65 tries
Oliver Viney – 120 Appearances – 78 tries
Just one other game being played at Lightfoot Green this coming weekend where the Fifth team entertain Bolton Thirds.