Leicester Lions Preview

Date: 16 October 2018

Leicester Lions vs. Preston Grasshoppers, Saturday 20th October 2018

After laying the ghost to rest that was an eight match losing run against Macclesfield last Saturday, Preston Grasshoppers travel to Leicester Lions this week looking to carry out a similar act and end a five match losing run at Westleigh Park. Their two point margin victory there back in 2012 was their last success after a similarly narrow win when they first played the Leicestershire side back in 2005. Both these close victories came with the help of Penalty Tries, which in the first game was awarded at the last play of the game some nine minutes into injury time!

Against Macclesfield last week, whilst being disappointed not to get the fourth try after battering at the visitors try line for a long period during the closing stages, Arnie’s charges will be pleased to have tasted victory once again and the coaching staff  similarly delighted with the defensive display which restricted the visitors to just a single try and a couple of penalties. A sharp comparison from recent weeks.

After being in competition with the leading promotion group in many recent seasons, Leicester Lions currently find themselves at the other end of the table, although two victories from their last two outings will have given them the confidence to pull away from the perilous drop zone. Their wins against Sedgley Park and then Otley at Cross Green last week compare favourably against the reversals against Stourbridge, Chester and Huddersfield on the road and local rivals South Leicester plus Fylde on home turf.

National League Two matches against Leicester Lions began relatively recently when this week’s opponents 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. Apart from Hoppers last season, both clubs have always occupied places at Level 4 of the rugby leagues during this period.

The share of victories in the resulting encounters lies in favour of the Midlands side, and even though our hosts have won all but two of the encounters at Westleigh Park, the tally is a fairly close thirteen wins to Hoppers eleven.

Preview by Mike Forshaw, photo by Mike Craig

Team News

Paul Arnold’s side shows just the one change from the win over Macclesfield last week with Jake Squirrell making his first start at scrum-half. Ryan Purcell is named amongst the substitutes and will make his first appearance of the season if used.

1. Oga Mabaya
2. PJ Millea (C)
3. Peter Altham
4. Luke Procter
5. Alastair Murray
6. Rouban Birch
7. Teddy Leatherbarrow
8. Matthew Lamprey
9. Jake Squirrell
10. Thomas Davidson
11. Conor Trueman
12. Sam Stott
13. Alex Hurst
14. Tyler Spence
15. Alex Ward

16. Ryan Purcell
17. Oliver Trippier
18. Paul Arnold
19. James Fitzpatrick
20. Matt Crow

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