Preston Grasshoppers vs. Otley – Kick Off 2.30pm
With more or less a full squad of players to choose from, Head Coach Michael Lough and Seconds Chief John Young have plenty of options for their starting line ups after last weeks shortages for the trips to Caldy and Chester.
With the exception of Alex Austin swapping places with Gareth Gore from the bench to second row, the forwards will start as selected for the postponed home game against Luctonians.
After starting at Fylde, Sam Kindred keeps the scrum half berth while Craig Aikman takes a place on the bench. Phil Baines moves to the wing as Michael Haley starts at outside centre.
Meanwhile news from the Otley the camp is that interim director of rugby Ryan Duckett and his fellow selectors have a few injury worries for Saturday’s trip to Lightfoot Green. Prop Toby Williams, hooker Harry Hudson, stand-off Ben Fairclough and number eight Alex Ball all picked up knocks in the defeat by Hull Ionians. Duckett said that all four players would be assessed at this week’s training sessions, but he is hopeful the injuries will not prove too serious.
1. Richard Morton,2. Phil Mills, 3. Andy Irving, 4. Ali Murray, 5. Alex Austin, 6. Killian Wallace,7. Will Keenan, 8. Dominic Moon. Captain, 9. Sam Kindred,10. Lewis Allen,11. Phil Baines, 12. Jack Ward, 13. Michael Haley, 14. Matt Hughes, 15. Sean Taylor.
Replacements: 16. Brad Tuff, 17. Danny Madden,18. Gareth Gore, 19. Karl Fitzpatrick, 20. Craig Aikman.
After losing their run of seven league matches without a defeat at Paton Field last weekend, Hoppers will be hoping to get back to winning ways against Yorkshire rivals Otley this coming Saturday. The loss to Caldy was somewhat compensated by a thrilling Lancashire Cup victory over local rivals Fylde on Easter Monday at the Woodlands. A Cup Final tie against either Sedgley Park or Widnes awaits Hoppers at a venue yet to be decided and probably taking place on May bank Holiday Monday. Keep an eye on Hoppers website for more news.
Hoppers will be hoping to avenge a narrow defeat earlier in the season at Cross Green and with the three North U20’s players available again, plus others missing from last Saturday’s trip to Cheshire, Head Coach Michael Lough will be hoping for a larger squad of players to choose from.
Otley’s second term at Level four has been a more successful season than their first when the threat of relegation hung over them until virtually the last seconds of their final game of the season at Hull Ionians. They currently sit just below Hoppers in the league table some seven points behind having played one game more and certainly won’t be the same side Hoppers put ninety points on at Lightfoot Green around this time last season.
Before relegation at the end of the 2010/11 season, Otley had lived in the upper levels of league rugby since gaining promotion at the end of the 1990/91 season from the Courage Division 4 North. When our two clubs met at Lightfoot Green that season, Hoppers came out on top by sixteen points to four. Hoppers and Otley next met in league action during our first season at Level 3 rugby in 1999/2000. This was to be for just one year, as Otley gained promotion once again.
The playing record between this week’s opponents goes way back to April 1929 when Otley played Hoppers whilst they were on an Easter tour. The home team ran out winners that day but suffered a comprehensive defeat the following season at Otley’s Cross Green ground against what was thought to be one of the strongest sides in Yorkshire.
There was then a considerable gap in time before the two clubs met again, but once that happened in 1961, games were played each season into the “Leagues” period.
The records show our opponents to have the upper hand in results over the years, with Otley winning twenty to Hoppers eighteen with one drawn match and five cancellations.
Just a couple of other game being played at Lightfoot Green this weekend as the Fifths entertain Chorley Seconds and the Colts play Twickenham Colts with a 12.30 kick off time. Depending on the weather leading up to this weekend, the Colts game may take place on the main pitch as a curtain raiser before the Firsts play Otley.
Photo by kind permission of Mike Craig.
We are delighted to welcome Freshfield to Lightfoot Green on Saturday as the Main Match Sponsor.
Joining Freshfield are County Insurance NW who are the Match Ball Sponsor. For details of the Preston Grasshoppers RFC Club Connect scheme, in association with County Insurance NW, please carry on reading below.
“Club Connect” is an innovative new scheme that benefits your local sports club whereby they receive donations from County Insurance for every insurance policy that is incepted. So if you’re a supporter of the club, and you require either personal or business insurance, then using County Insurance means you’ll get excellent rates and insurance cover PLUS you’re sports club receive a donation.