Preston Grasshoppers vs. Huddersfield – Kick Off 2.30pm
15. Sean Taylor 14. Matt Hughes, 13. Phil Baines, 12. Russ Flynn, 11. Matt Gargett, 10. Karl Fitzpatrick, 9. Mark Edwards 1. Chris Gale, 2. Alan Holmes 3. Richard Morton, 4. Ali Atkinson 5. Alex Austin, 6. Matt Charters; Capt, 7. Killian Wallace, 8. Connor Murphy.
Replacements: 16. Alan Martindale 17. Andy Irving, 18. Ally Murray 19. Jack Ward. 20. Tom Smith.
After fine performances last week at Otley, hooker Alan Holmes keeps his place, as does equally impressive Chris Gale at loose head. Suspended Dominic Moon’s place goes into the capable hands of Connor Murphy in the only change to the pack. Dominic will miss this and next weeks visit to Caldy after picking up two yellow cards at Luctonians back in October.
Coach Dave Baldwin makes enforced changes amongst the backs however, with Graham Holroyd missing due to a rib injury he picked up during the first half last week at Otley and Sean Long being called up to play in the “Help for Heroes” rugby challenge game at Twickenham. Making their debut’s in the first team squad this week therefore, are Jack Ward and Matt Gargett who have been in great form for the second team recently.
Meanwhile, the draw for the 1st Round of this season’s Lancashire Cup has been made, with Hoppers making a visit to Round Ash Park the home of Leigh RFC from North 1 West, which lays two levels below National 2 North.
It is planned that the Semi Finals will also be played mid-week and the Final on Bank Holiday Monday the 7th of May.
The full draw is:
Leigh v Preston Grasshoppers
Sedgley Park v Broughton Park
Fylde v Vale of Lune
Liverpool St Helens v Waterloo
These games are to be played on the evening of Wednesday 18th April 2012
Opponents from Yorkshire are the visitors this coming Saturday, when highflying Huddersfield are our guests. After getting back on track with a hard fought victory at Otley last Saturday, the coaches and players will know a more difficult task awaits them as “The Westies” are in a rich vein of form.
Since Huddersfield gained promotion into National N2 four seasons ago, all six meetings have resulted in home victories with plenty of points ending up on the scoreboard, a theme we hope to be continued this Saturday.
Huddersfield started with an early season reverse at Hull Ionians, way before Ionians influx of new recruits, but since then their season has gained momentum with notable victories at Luctonians two weeks ago, and a high scoring draw away against the Students.
Meetings between the two clubs go back to the late 1950’s when Hoppers made the first journey over the Pennines to play Huddersfield on the 29th of March 1958 at The Waterloo Ground which is now occupied by a Morrisons supermarket.
It wasn’t a lucky trip for the travellers as the home team ran out comprehensive victors, 29 points to 9; in fact it took eight visits to Huddersfield before Hoppers eventually gained a win there in 1965.
The playing record between this week’s opponents sits just in favour of Huddersfield by 27 victories against 22 to Hoppers with two matches ending all square and one being cancelled. Meetings in Preston however are in favour of the home team with 16 victories against 9 and both drawn games being played at Lea. There was one other meeting between the two teams, this was a pre-season practice game at Lockwood Park before the start of the 2003/04 season when Hoppers ran riot winning 79-19. This was however small consolation at the end of the season when we were relegated to North 1.
There are a few other games being played at Lightfoot Green this Saturday
Hoppers 2 vs. Vale of Lune 2
Hoppers 5 vs. Vale of Lune 4
Hoppers 6 vs. Chorley 2
Here is an early call for supporters to travel to Caldy on the 10th of December.
The 1869 Club is approaching its 25-year anniversary next year, and anyone who has ever travelled on the charabanc will be familiar with the name Pineways and driver Brian. The pairing have transported supporters on almost every trip that has been made over the years, but unfortunately the owners have informed us that they are closing down at Christmas.
The last opportunity for us to travel with them will be our next away trip on the 10th of December to Caldy on the Wirral. So the 1869 Club are hoping for supporters to abandon their usual mode of transport and make this a memorable finale.
Pineways have never let us down getting us to away matches, which is more than can be said for some of the navigators who have taken charge of directing the driver, although this is all in the dim and distant past. Many people will recall travelling to Birmingham Solihull and arriving at the wrong ground before flagging down a taxi driver to guide us to their new home. One of a number of occasion’s arrival was after the game had already started.
On one of the few times when our usual means of transport wasn’t available, a trip to Aspatria was cut short when the alternative ran out of fuel in the middle of nowhere. For once the obligatory lunch en-route had to be cancelled while a number of travellers flagged down the team coach leaving the rest of the party to wait for a delivery of fuel. No names mentioned, but everyone who travelled will know the absconder’s identity who had entertained us with his impressions before he fled!
A number of supporters have been left behind at various grounds whilst the coach has driven away without them after numerous warnings of an imminent departure being ignored, Stourbridge being one of them. No doubt many such stories will be recounted on the trip to Caldy, so make sure you don’t miss out and put your name on the list.
It is hoped ‘The Basket’ and contents (also its current guardian) will be in evidence and duly emptied. Hopefully one of its victims will be allowed to make a reappearance!
The fare will be £10 with accompanied juniors travelling for free. The usual stop for lunch at one of Les Harrison’s ‘Real Ale and Good Food’ venues is on the agenda. As the game will be kicking off at 2.15pm an early departure time of 10.30 will have to be made. Departure from Paton Field will be the usual, one hour after the final whistle with an estimated arrival back at Hoppers of 6.30pm.
Photos by kind permission of Mike Craig.