Sam Kindred charges for the Lions try line at Lightfoot Green
Preston Grasshoppers vs. Leicester Lions – Kick Off 2.30pm
Garth Dew makes a number of changes to his selection from last week. Pete Altham and Sam Kindred start the game with Sam Whyte moving to the bench and with Ollie Carter not recovering from injury, Lewis Allen will wear the number ten shirt. Matt Gargett gets his first chance of the season on the wing and Sam Russell makes his debut in the centres after scoring two tries for the 2nd’s at Macclesfield last week alongside Jack Ward who gets a starting place this week.
Two other 2nd XV try scorers last week return to first team action in the shape of Andy Irving (Man of the Match at Macclesfield) & Tom Hurst along with Richard Morton.
1 John Peterson, 2 Phil Mills, 3 Pete Altham, 4 Reece Tomlinson, 5 Ally Murray, 6 Andy Napier, 7 Will Lees, 8 Chris Taylor, 9 Sam Kindred, 10 Lewis Allen,11 Matt Gargett, 12 Jack Ward, 13 Tom Hurst, 14 Phil Baines (Captain), 15 John Embleton.
16 Jack Wilkinson, 17 Andy Irving, 18 Richard Morton, 19 Sam Whyte, 20 Tom Hurst.
Meanwhile Leicester Lions have announced the following squad of players which has the pack unchanged from last week but there are a few changes and shuffles amongst the backs and replacements. Jacob Knight takes over from Rory Lynn at stand off. Devon Constant swaps wings in Andy Murdock’s absence, Steven Cross comes into the centres and Jack Spittle takes the full back slot from the bench last week.:
1 Ben Spokes, 2 Ollie Taylor, 3 Shaun Murray, 4 Josh McClaurin, 5 Matt Tuckey (Captain), 6 John Murdoch, 7 Drew Rudkin, 8 Rob Young, 9 Danny Campbell, 10 Rory Lynn, 11 Luke Veebel, 12 Steven Cross, 13 Nathan Donnachie, 14 Devon Constant, 15 Jack Spittle, 16 Joe Cave, 17 Laurence Brown, 18 Keifer Laxton, 19 Kane Nixon, 20 Elliott Gwynne.
Hoppers entertain Leicester Lions this coming Saturday hoping to get back to winning ways after a disappointing display last Saturday against The Bees.
I’m sure last week’s game left Hoppers supporters, players and coaching staff quite bewildered. The home side didn’t look anything like the team who had impressed just a week earlier, but after getting off to another sluggish start looked to be well on their way to a five point victory until the visitors forced the game into uncontested scrummaging and picked up seven points during the added ten minutes before half time. Hoppers huffed and puffed their way through the second period but remained scoreless, whilst the visitors whittled away at their lead before finally kicking the winning points with the last play of the game in the one hundred and second playing minute.
There will be much soul searching and analysis of playing style and tactics before this weekend by both players and coaches in an attempt to arrest the current slide down the table. Perhaps with more formidable opponents in their sights we will get back to the form we have only seen in fits and starts so far this season.
Fixtures against this coming weekend’s opponents began relatively recently when the Lions gained promotion into the National Leagues as Champions of Midlands 1 at the end of the 2004/5 season which coincided with Preston Grasshoppers promotion from North 1. Since then both clubs have occupied places in National 2 North.
The share of victories in the resulting encounters is exactly equal with each club winning nine of the contests.
Our visitors currently sit four places above the home side with just one more victory and three extra points. They have the distinction of inflicting Stourbridge’s first defeat of the season, something they don’t appear to have recovered from suffering a further three reverses, the latest at the hands of Otley at Stourton last Saturday. The Lions defeated Caldy at home last Saturday, another team who have taken notable scalps so far this season including Stourbridge down in the Midlands.
Leicester’s last venture away from their Blaby home resulted in a victory at Portway where they comfortably defeated last week’s conquesters at Lightfoot Green. This was their only success on the road this season, something Hoppers will be hoping they have restrict them to when they leave Lightfoot Green this Saturday
Photograph courtesy of Mike Craig.