Ilkley Preview

Date: 29 March 2018

This Saturday, the 1st XV welcome Ilkley after the original date had to be rescheduled due to the weather. Last weekend saw Hoppers come back from behind to clinch a bonus point victory against Lymm, meaning that another bonus point win this weekend will see the 1st XV crowned champions; securing promotion into National 2.

Words by Mike Foreshaw, photo by Mike Craig

Ilkley took the result of the game over in Yorkshire right down to the wire, only to sacrifice a comfortable nine points lead with just twelve minutes left on the clock allowing the visitors to come away with a five point winning margin and try bonus point victory to boot. It was an uncomfortable experience for Hoppers that day, having not only to reverse a late lead by the home side but also a twelve point deficit at the interval.

As previously mentioned, an emphatic second half effort saw Hoppers overcome Lymm 39 – 32 after finding themselves 29 – 12 down at the break. Points scorers included James Fitzpatrick (2), Matt Lamprey going over for another hat-trick and Jake Squirrel adding 14 points including two crucial penalty kicks. Another Lamprey hat-trick means that the Number 8 has now overtaken Michael Lough’s long standing record of tries scored in a season, bringing his total to 30.

Ilkley handed out a warning to Hoppers when they demolished high flying Lymm at Stacks Field earlier in February. However, since then, Ilkley have played 3, winning one, drawing one and losing one resulting in the visitors now sitting in 9th place.

It’s been some time since Preston Grasshoppers and Ilkley have crossed swords. Up to and including the game in 1963, there have been nineteen matches between the two going back to the first encounter back in Preston in 1927. That game was played at Faringdon Park on the 10th of September where the home side ran out comfortable winners, twenty one points to nil.

A full record of games between the two clubs shows that Ilkley have the upper hand over there Lancashire rivals, winning ten to Hoppers nine with three games falling foul of the weather plus a three all draw.

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