Preston Grasshoppers vs. Nuneaton – Kick Off 2.30pm
(Photo courtesy of Mick Craig)
15. Sean Taylor, 14. Matt Hughes, 13. Owen McKenna, 12. Russ Flynn, 11. Phil Baines, 10. Graham Holroyd, 9. Josh Purnell, 1. Andy Irvine, 2. Alan Martindale, 3. Chris Lowden, 4. Ali Atkinson 5. Alex Austin, 6. Ally Murray 7. Matt Charters. Capt, 8. Dominic Moon.
16. Mark Irving, 17. Richie Sands, 18. Killian Wallace, 19. Andrew Thornley, 20. Tom Smith.
The selection of Russell Flynn this weekend clocks up a big milestone for the ex. Hoppers Colt. Russ plays in his two hundred and fiftieth game for the First XV in a 1st XV career that started against Otley at Lightfoot Green, on the 11th of March 2000. During that time he has scored fifty seven tries and kicked twenty one conversions plus five penalties. No one could exemplify the word Clubman more than Russell who has left his mark with many an opposition winger since his debut. Enjoy your day Russ!
Hoppers welcome old rivals Nuneaton to Lightfoot Green this coming Saturday, and will be hoping to quickly get back to winning ways. The home club’s growing list of injuries is becoming a problem, an update of which will be given later in the week within this preview.
Saturday’s visitors have a long history of fixtures against the home club. You have to go back as far as the twentieth of April 1957 for the first meeting between the two when future Captain, Bert Shepherd missed the fixture at The Harry Cleaver Ground in Nuneaton with a broken finger.
Unusually, Hoppers played two first team games that day, losing by five points to nil at Nuneaton, and eight points to thirteen at Southport.
It was a busy period for the first-teamers, as only five days earlier they had beaten a strong Fylde team by nine points to eight at The Woodlands in a Monday evening game then on Easter Monday, just two days after the double-header Saturday, they visited St Helens but lost ten points to seventeen.
While Hoppers record against this week’s visitors is a slightly negative one, having won ten times out of twenty two meetings, they will be out to even that up and also avenge the double defeat at the hands of the Midlands outfit last season. Out of sixteen league fixtures between the two clubs, Hoppers have won eight to Nuneaton’s seven with one ending in a thirteen all draw. You have to go back as far as the promotion season 1998/99 though to find a victory for the home club, so Hoppers will be keen to end a run of eight consecutive games without a win against the Nuns.
Nuneaton sit a number of places and six points below Hoppers in the league table and by a quirk of the fixture list, have played all the teams Hoppers have so far this season apart from the Students, but reversing the venues! The “Nuns” will also be looking to get back into the winning habit having lost their last two games, against Hull and Luctonians after drawing at Harrogate. They lost at Caldy on the opening day of the season before going on a run of three consecutive victories over Kendal, Leicester Lions and Bromsgrove. They then lost heavily at Westoe but beat Sheffield Tigers at home the following weekend.
Other games taking place this weekend at Lightfoot Green.
Hoppers 5ths vs. Rossendale 3rds
Hoppers 6ths vs. Burnley 3rds
The following day sees our Women’s XV take on Darlington in a league Fixture plus the Senior Colts playing Southport, both with a 2pm kick off time. The Junior Colts play Macclesfield on the same day in a match which starts earlier at 12.30pm, all at Lightfoot Green. Come along and support the boys and girls!