Preston Grasshoppers vs. Luctonians – Kick Off 2.30pm
The starting XV for Saturday sees the return of Rich Morton to the front row with Will Keenan and Chris Gale moving up from the bench. The backs line up is the same as three weeks ago against Sheffield Tigers.
The full selection is:
15. Sean Taylor, 14. Phil Baines, 13. Sean Long, 12. Jack Ward, 11. Antony Elliott, 10. Graham Holroyd, 9. Nathan Fowles, 1. Chris Gale, 2. Alan Holmes, 3. Richard Morton, 4. Ally Murray, 5. Wayne Steel Capt. 6. Will Keenan, 7. Kilian Wallace, 8. Dominic Moon.
Replacements: 16. Mark Irving, 17. Chris Lowden, 18. Matt Charters, 19. Conor Murphy, 20. Matt Gargett.
Everyone will be grateful that the cold snap has relented and we can now get back to league action after a two week lay off. Some of the Hoppers first team squad who were recovering from injury or have recently been doing their turn on the bench were given a run out in the Raging Bull quarter final at Caldy last Saturday, but Dave Baldwin will be keen to get a league fixture in before another enforced blank Saturday a week later.
Luctonians make just their second ever visit to Lightfoot Green this coming weekend and will be hoping to fare better than the heavy defeat suffered on their first visit, just last season. The home team clocked up fifty points on that occasion, but will be happy to gain the slenderest of wins and get back to winning ways after a couple of defeats at the end of January.
The Herefordshire side currently sit two places above Hoppers in the league table and were involved in the only game played last weekend whilst everyone else suffered from frozen pitches. Our visitors had an impressive home victory over a Nuneaton XV who happen to be Hoppers next opponents in a couple of weeks time. ‘The Nuns’ seem to be sliding into the pack of teams struggling to escape the clutches of relegation so the trip to the Midlands will be another tough encounter. The previous week Luctonians suffered as Hoppers did at Claro Road last Saturday, when their re-arranged fixture was postponed once again.
The home team will be hoping to improve on their performance at Mortimer Park where a late converted try brought them a losing bonus point. Hoppers suffered a major setback on that day when the influential Nathan Fowles suffered a serious injury during the first half after earlier scoring a try. All in all, there promises to be a contest between two equally matched teams this coming weekend.
Other games being played at Lightfoot Green, all with a 2:15 kick off time see the 2nd XV having a tough looking fixture against Macclesfield and need to get back to winning ways in the league after a couple of defeats at the hands of Sedgley Park and Caldy.
Hoppers 2nds vs. Macclesfield 2
Hoppers 5ths vs. Kirkby Lonsdale 3
Hoppers 6ths vs. Fleetwood 4