Leicester Lions Preview

Date: 22 February 2017

Hoppers entertain Leicester Lions this coming Saturday at Lightfoot Green in a rearranged fixture from the end of November when Pitch 2 was deemed unfit for play.

Words by Mike Forshaw, photo by Mike Craig.

With the new 3G surface now in regular use there will be no problems from inclement weather, that is unless we have a sudden deluge of snow during Friday night!

Our visitors did us a small favour last Saturday, sending fellow struggler’s Wharfedale back to Grassington without any reward, much as their near neighbours South Leicester did to Hoppers.

Looking back to last weeks game we saw a similar pattern to most of their season on the road, Hoppers getting themselves too far behind in a contest before staging a spirited comeback but falling just short of gaining any reward. Losing two tries from having been camped on ‘South’s’ line becoming the deciding factor.

A strange sight last Saturday at Welford Road was to see more spectators being entertained by South Leicester’s Second Fifteen than those watching the 1st XV play Hoppers!

Our opponents this week will no doubt give us our toughest test yet this year as they are just about still in contention for a play off spot and promotion to National 1, something they’ve been knocking on the door of for a few seasons now. Anything less than gathering all five points available at Lightfoot Green would make their task all but impossible. Hoppers on the other hand sitting at the other end of the table, need to gain something from this rearranged fixture.

National League Two matches against Leicester Lions began relatively recently when this week’s visitors gained promotion into the RFU’s Level 4 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 at this level.

The share of victories in the resulting encounters lies in favour of our visitors thanks to a double  achievement last season giving them the edge by twelve wins to Hoppers ten. The Lions have won on three occasions at Lightfoot Green in eleven visits and Hoppers just twice at Westleigh Park, which shows the advantage in this particular fixture over the years mainly favouring the home side.

A reminder here that the 1869 Club are planning to run a supporters coach to Sheffield Tigers for Hoppers next away fixture which will be a crucial one for both sides as they hope to make the result of this particular game help lift them away from the wrong end of the table. Please add your names to the poster on the noticeboard and give your team the support they require for this important fixture. Departure from the clubhouse will be at 10am for a 3pm kick off.

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