Otley for 1st XV

Date: 21 January 2014

After last weekends sterling performance Head Coach Michael Lough has named an almost unchanged squad for the trip to Otley, the only change being amongst the replacements.

1 Mo Mustafa, 2 Alan Holmes, 3 Pete Altham, 4 Ally Murray, 5 Joab Murphy, 6 Sam Wallbank, 7 Eddie Webster, 8 Dominic Moon (Captain), 9 Craig Aikman, 10 Zav Roebuck, 11 Sam Kendall, 12 Jack Ward, 13 Phil Baines, 14 Adam Birchall, 15 Sean Taylor.


16 Tom McGuinness, 17 Brad Tuff, 18 Will Lees, 19 Kilian Wallace, 20 Sam Kindred/Tom Smith.

Similar to Hoppers, Otley have announced an almost unchanged squad from last week for Saturday’s game.

Will Rigg, Ben Steele, Mark Chivers, Declan Dunn, Simon Willet, Tom O’Donnell, Joe Armitage, Freddie Watson, Stephen Depledge, Ben Fairclough, Harry Hudson, Chris Gemmell, Jack Mackie, Nazir Karim, Andy Ellison, George Burkinshaw, Henry Walker, Stephen Costello, Matthew Heaton and Boluaji Fagbourn

Although Hoppers run of defeats continues, all concerned at the club will have been heartened by last weeks sterling performance against promotion chasing Stourbridge at Lightfoot Green assisted in no small way by home débutante Sam Kendall’s two try performance, both of which ‘took some scoring’ as the saying goes. The game was in the balance going into the final few minutes and it has to be said the margin of victory  somewhat flattered our opponents.

Sam Kendall

Sam Kendall scores one of his two tries against Stourbridge last Saturday at Lightfoot Green.

So with a welcome good performance now under their belts, it’s off to Yorkshire this coming Saturday’s for the encounter against long standing opponents Otley and with the 1869 Club’s band of supporters confirmed as travelling to give their support, that long awaited victory might just be on the horizon!

Similar to Preston Grasshoppers, Otley have had a torrid time since the beginning of November, winning just twice but with no home victory since October it’s been six losses on the bounce at what was once the fortress Cross Green. Although Hoppers haven’t had much joy during that period they have the upper hand in recording three victories.

Otley will be viewing the game against Hoppers as a chance for themselves to get back to winning ways with an one eye on Sheffield Tigers and Hull whose recent form has seen them close the gap on those above them and at present Otley will be their main target. Defeat at the hands of Hoppers on Saturday wouldn’t be the best preparation for their visit to Dore Moor the following week.

Last season’s encounters ended with honours shared in the shape of two home wins. A narrow defeat at Cross Green back in November before a high scoring home win to Hoppers at Lightfoot Green later in the season when our visitors missed out on a losing bonus point by one.

Earlier this season, Hoppers ran out comfortable five try winners at Lightfoot Green with only the boot of ex. Kendal’s Mark Ireland keeping the visitors in the game.

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 results over the years between the two clubs couldn’t be closer with things standing all square, both winning twenty games each with one drawn match and five cancellations.

It’s back to league action for Hoppers other senior sides this week after just the ‘Fifths’ had any Cup success winning through to the next round of the Lighting and Building Services LBS Bowl competition in last weekend’s encounters.

Hoppers 2 vs. Stockport 2 (Home)

Hoppers 3 vs. Waterloo 2 (Home)

Hoppers 4 vs. Southport 2 (Home)

Hoppers 5 vs. Fylde 5 (Away)

Hoppers 6 vs. Tydesley 3 (Home)


Photo by kind permission of Mike Craig.

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