Kirkby Lonsdale Preview

Date: 25 January 2018

Preston Grasshoppers 1st XV travel north to Kirkby Lonsdale rugby club this Saturday for just their third and first ever League meeting in Cumbria between the two clubs hoping to maintain a 100% record at Underley Park. The Cumbrian’s have made the journey into this league from the opposite direction to Hoppers by means of finishing last season as Champions of the North West 1 League.

Words by Mike Forshaw, photo by Mike Craig

After remaining undefeated for the whole of last season, the home side have found things a little more difficult in their first season at this level. A promising start to their new campaign has been halted in recent weeks recording just one win since early November. Hoppers however will be mindful not to underestimate the Cumbrian’s who ran them so close at Lightfoot Green with only a late Penalty Try seeing them home by a single point.

The comprehensive thirteen try victory over an outplayed Kendal side last Saturday saw a number of Hoppers records go crashing once again. None more so than Dominic Moon’s twenty one try season haul from 2011/12 overtaken by Matt Lamprey during his hat-trick. Ironically with Rossendale’s game against Ilkley falling to the weather, ‘Mooney’ and a group of other ex. Hoppers from the East Lancashire Club were in attendance to see his record for scoring the most League tries as a forward in a season, overhauled by ‘Lamps’.

The thirteen try victory was the biggest since Hoppers clocked up ninety points with fourteen tries against Otley back at the end of the 2011/12 season. Seven of the fourteen that day were scored by the afore mentioned Dominic Moon which as far as we are aware is still a joint record in League Rugby.

Another record overtaken last week was certainly done in style. The last hat-trick achieved by a 1st XV Hopper at Lightfoot Green in a League game was Adam Birchall’s four try haul against Luctonians in a rearranged fixture back in May 2013. And the last time we saw Preston Grasshoppers have a double hat trick to celebrate was earlier the same season when Sean Taylor and Matt Hughes each ran in three each against Leicester Lions. To top all that, our records fail to show that Hoppers have ever had a tripple tripple in a League game. Congratulations to Matt Lamprey, Scott Jordan and Niall Crosley in adding that new achievement to our Records Book. I’ve a feeling it will be a long time before that particular record is surpassed……….or will it?

Preston Grasshoppers longest undefeated, and run of victories achievements were also smashed earlier this year, so look out for a fuller story about that in the match day programme when Rossendale visit in a fortnight’s time.

First Fifteen games between the two clubs have been few and far between so before the first ever league meeting and home sides victory earlier this season you need to go back as far as the 1999/2000 season to see when when the two last met. Hoppers ran out winners that day by some considerable margin, adding to their four earlier successes. The first meeting took place at Lightfoot Green on the 11th of March 1995 when the visitors took the place of Tynedale who were due to visit.

There are already a goodly number of names down for the trip to Cumbria next Saturday so come along and join in with the 1869 Club for what promises to be another memorable day out. Coach leaves Hoppers at 11am with the usual arrangements.

It won’t be until the middle of next month before the next away match is played and it’s a little further away than recent trips. I’m sure the players and coaches would be delighted to witness the 1869 Club travellers making a first ever trip to Pocklington, so keep a lookout for the usual notice to appear and put your names down.


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