Hull showdown for Hoppers

Date: 20 April 2015

Hull vs. Preston Grasshoppers – Kick Off 3.00pm

Hoppers pack

Hoppers pack drives the Caldy defence towards the line last Saturday in front of a crowd four times larger than any other attendance at Lightfoot Green this season

Team News

Hoppers Head Coach Garth Dew gives a massive vote of confidence to his charges by naming the same starting line up from last weeks terrific performance against Caldy for the crucial game at Hull this Saturday.

Meanwhile the bench has just one change from last week with Oga Mabaya replacing Jack Banks.

Preston Grasshoppers recipe for survival is to score four tries but if they lose, keep the margin no more than seven points or restrict Hull to a maximum of three tries.

In an effort to help them achieve this, the 1869 Club are running a supporters coach which at present has room for more travellers. The coach will leave Hoppers at 9.45am with lunch taken en-route. Expected arrival time back in Preston is between 7.30-8.00pm.

The full line up reads;

1. Danny Madden, 2. Phil Mills, 3. Pete Altham, 4. Ally Murray (Captain), 5. Reece Tomlinson, 6. Dominic Moon, 7. Will Lees, 8. Chris Taylor, 9. Harry Moulding, 10. Lewis Allen, 11. John O’Donnell, 12. Billy Woof, 13. Sam Russell, 14. Scott Jordan, 15. Mark Murray.

Replacements: 16. Brad Tuff, 17. Oga Mabaya, 18. Richard Morton, 19. Sam Kindred, 20. Harry Reddick.


Preston Grasshoppers travel to the city of Kingston-upon-Hull this coming Saturday for a game where the result will determine if either club can survive the drop and which one, or both are to play in North 1 or National 2 North next September.

Hoppers cause was given a massive boost last Saturday after a fantastic performance over high flying Caldy secured an all important home victory, whilst this weeks opponents clung onto National 2 survival with the vital two points difference in a seventy eight point see-saw game over fellow strugglers Birmingham Solihull at Portway.

So the National 2 North season is going to the wire at both ends of the table. Hull Ionians need a victory at Caldy to regain the league title they held a couple of seasons ago whilst Ampthill can leapfrog them if Caldy prevail at Paton Field and they win their final game of the season at bottom side Stockport.

Meanwhile at the other end of the table, Hoppers need just a single point for survival even if Hull defeat them and gather the fourth try bonus point. This makes Hull’s plight more serious than Hoppers as their fate is in the hands of others, for even if they run out five point winners on Saturday, victory for Luctonians at home to Leicester Lions and a point for Hoppers will condemn them to one of the relegation places. Birmingham Solihull, who travel to Otley need us to win at Hull and Leicester Lions to stop Luctonians gaining a point coupled with the full complement of five points for themselves being there only means of survival.

So, with all that in mind the game at the Ferens Ground will be a tense affair with no quarter given by both sets of players. Hull you would think may want to play an open game looking for tries at every opportunity, but historically their strength has rested with their big pack. The bottom line though is the fact that they must gain a winning bonus point to give themselves maximum chances of survival. They were certainly in try scoring mode last week at Portway scoring six on the day but Hoppers Head Coach Garth Dew will note that they also conceding five themselves!

Hoppers will take the spirit of the victory over Caldy, whom they dumped from third to sixth place last week and will need to put some of the disappointing performances of the season behind them and concentrate on some of the good ones they have turned in since last September. Victories on the road over Otley at Cross Green and Birmingham Solihull at Portway plus great winning performances against Sedgely Park, Broadstreet and Harrogate amongst others and the sterling performance at Ampthill must be taken into this game over in Yorkshire.

Preston Grasshoppers supporters who travelled to Hull’s Howarth Road ground for the first meeting between the two sides back in the 2004/5 season will be hoping for a similar outcome, but hopefully avoiding the last minute nervous wait as the ball slid wide of the upright giving the away side the closest of victories thirty four points to thirty two. The situation of that game was very much a different to this weeks encounter as on that occasion both sides were striving for promotion from North 1 as opposed to the current survival quest.

The statistics tell us there to have been fourteen meetings between the two clubs with Hoppers holding the upper hand winning eight including a win in a National Cup tie to Hull’s five successes plus an eighteen all draw.

Photograph Courtesy of Mike Craig.

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