Preston Grasshoppers vs. Hull – Kick Off 2.30pm
Hoppers show several changes from last weeks draw at Nuneaton. Ally Murray and Graham Holroyd are both injured so Ale Austin and Josh Purnell deputise. Phil Mills replaces Chris Lowden who drops down to the bench. Leading try scorer Matt Hughes returns to the bench after a couple of games in the 2nd XV following injury. The line up in full is;
1. Chris Gale, 2. Phil Mills, 3. Rich Morton, 4. Wayne Steel (captain), 5. Alex Austin, 6. Will Keenan, 7. Kilian Wallace, 8. Dominic Moon, 9. Nathan Fowles, 10. Josh Purnell, 11. Antony Elliott, 12. Jack Ward, 13. Phil Baines, 14. Matt Gargett, 15. Sean Taylor
16. Chris Lowden, 17. Mark Irving, 18. Conor Murphy, 19. Matt Charters, 20. Matt Hughes
Hoppers opponents this coming Saturday are Hull who sit just a couple of places behind in the league table, so the home club will be keen to keep things that way and record a win which will reverse the defeat suffered at the Ferens Ground back in November last year.
Last Saturday’s drawn game at Nuneaton was one Hoppers should have won and would surely have done so apart from a blip in what had been good defence up to then giving the home side their second try and two penalty misses Graham Holroyd usually kicks without a problem. However the visitors seemed to be hanging in there for a narrow victory when a cruel bounce of the ball from a speculative cross kick on eighty minutes bounced straight into the attackers hands giving him a clear run in under the posts. Every credit to Hoppers for not giving in and a (MOTM) Will Keenan burst after sustained pressure set up Chris Gale to go over in the corner with ‘Holi’ failing with an almost impossible conversion for victory.
With teams above Hoppers constantly dropping points there’s still a chance of making the play off spot, and this keeps interest in the remaining games of the season. Hull will make victory difficult but only a victory for Hoppers will keep hopes alive.
Fixtures against the East Ridings Club are only recent events, the first taking place back in the 2004/5 season at Hull’s old ground when Hoppers were victorious by thirty four points to thirty two. The home team missed a late kick at goal for victory helping Hoppers on their way to promotion. Last years eighteen all draw was Hull’s only sort of success at Lightfoot Green in four attempts, Hoppers winning the other three including a win in a National Cup tie.
Other games being played at Lightfoot Green this coming weekend include the Fifth’s entertaining Burnley’s Second XV and the Sixth’s, BAE Warton 1st’s.