Northwich vs. Preston Grasshoppers, Saturday 23rd April, 3pm
Fresh from their successful Lancashire Cup Semi Final at Blackburn, Preston Grasshoppers travel into Cheshire for their final League game of the season to play Northwich RUFC for the third meeting between the two clubs.
In an end-to-end game at Ramsgreave Drive, as was earlier in the season, the scores were level at the end of the game, but in this instance, being the away side, Hoppers went through to the final where they’ll meet either Widnes or Rochdale who play their semi final on the 7th of May. Blackburn managed to keep their unbeaten home record intact, with Hoppers being the only side to visit their ground this season and return home undefeated.
Looking forward to next Saturday’s game, Hoppers will be looking to extend their run of League victories to fourteen which will equal a club record and away wins to ten which in turn will be a record, whilst the home side will be hoping the end their season with their first win.
There are also a couple of playing milestones waiting to be reached, in that Saturday’s game will be Matt Lamprey’s one hundredth appearance and Toby Harrison’s fiftieth. Extra Special mention must go to Pete Altham in his one hundred and seventy second game for Hoppers after being crowned the North Premier League Player of the Season! Congratulations to all three.
Before the opening game of this season, the first meeting between Preston Grasshoppers and Northwich happened back on the 18th of February 1995 at Lightfoot Green when the visitors stood in for Bradford and Bingley who were the scheduled opponents. Hoppers running out winners by twenty five points to three.
Northwich had been knocking on the door for promotion from North 1 West for a number of seasons before finally achieving their goal when the calculations were made at the end of the truncated season in 2020. When all the numbers were added up, the Cheshire side finished one point ahead of Waterloo, Wilmslow and Altrincham Kersal from the West and way ahead of Cleckheaton in the East, thus taking the third promotion place.
Many from Lightfoot Green will have recollections of regular League games between Hoppers and the other Northwich rugby side Winnington Park, whom we last played in 1999 at Level 4 in the Jewson National 3 North League. Some may even recall a three points to nil victory at Burrows Hill in October 1990?
The 1869 Club are running a supporters coach to this the final League game with a 11am start time from the Clubhouse. There will be the usual stop for lunch en-route, returning approximately 1 hour after the final whistle. Please add your name to the list on the Noticeboard or alternatively email Les Harrison on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since his debut at Sandal in the opening game of the 2017/18 season Matt Lamprey has made ninety nine League appearances for Hoppers, so at Northwich this Saturday he’ll reach the ‘Ton’! During his time at Hoppers Matt has missed just seven games and is nearing Oli Viney’s League try scoring record for the club with a tally of seventy six to date.
The game at Northwich will also be a special occasion for Toby Harrison who will be playing his fiftieth game for Hoppers since his move from Fylde in 2019. He also has an impressive record for crossing the try line with a tally of sixteen to date, all bar one coming this season.
- Olli TRIPPIER
- Christian TAYLOR (c)
- Pete ALTHAM
- Ally MURRAY
- Sam GALE
- Toby HARRISON
- Rob BRAMHALL
- Matt LAMPREY
- Harrison MOULDING
- Ben PEARSON
- Tyler SPENCE
- Sam STOTT
- Jordan DORRINGTON
- Will CLAPHAM
- Jacob BROWNE
- Oga MABAYA
- Dec NORRINGTON
- Mark MURRAY