Preston Grasshoppers vs. Sedgley Park – Lancashire Cup Final
1. Andy Irving, 2. Chris Gale, 3. Richard Morton, 4. Glynn Hoosen-Owen 5. Alan Holmes, 6. Phil Mills, 7. Wayne Steel, 8. Ally Murray, 9. Conor Murphy, 10 Will Keenan, 11. Killian Wallace, 12. Dominic Moon, 13. Matt Charters, 14. Josh Purnell, 15. Nathan Fowles, 16. Sean Long, 17. Jack Ward, 18. Mike Haley, 19. Karl Fitzpatrick, 20. Phil Baines, 21. Matt Hughes, 22. Matt Gargett, 23. Sean Taylor.
Hoppers end their season in a fitting finale to a successful season at the Woodlands on Bank Holiday Monday against National 1 Sedgley Park. Victory on the Fylde coast would be icing on the cake at the end of a season that has built in momentum as young players have gained experience and a gradual build up of experienced has built within the squad during 2011/12.
Victory over a spirited LSH at Lightfoot Green in the Semi Final has given Hoppers the chance to lift the John Burgess trophy for the third time in their history. Coincidentally both our victories were at Sedgley’s Park Lane ground.
Hoppers last visit to the Woodlands for a Final was back in 1997 when they lost to a then high flying Orrell outfit, previous to that, they lost a replayed game to Vale of Lune in 1986.
Sedgley Park and Hoppers aren’t strangers to each other in this competition, although this is their first meeting in a final. The first meeting was (as all the others have been) at Lightfoot Green back in 2000/2001, when the home team lost narrowly. The next meeting in 2004/5 was the first of the remaining four, all within six seasons, Hoppers winning three and Park the other after scoring more tries in a twenty seven all drawn game.
Since the competition was resurrected in 1971, Sedgley Park have made five previous appearances in the final, winning three times the last four seasons ago when they lost to Waterloo. Their first final was in the 2000/2001 season when they lost to Manchester quickly bouncing back the following season defeating Fylde.
Their playing squad will be stretched to capacity this weekend as not only do they have the game against Hoppers at the Woodlands to contend with, but their 2nd XV won the Raging Bull Cup Final against Macclesfield yesterday, added to that it wasn’t surprising to see three of their top players included in the Lancashire squad on Saturday at Vale of Lune.
Congratulations to Rich Morton and Dominic Moon who made the starting line up at Powderhouse Lane on Saturday for Lancashire, with Nathan Fowles and Matt Hughes scoring the winning points from the bench.