Otley Preview + Free Ticket

Date: 24 January 2017

Preston Grasshoppers welcome long standing opponents from Yorkshire to Lightfoot Green this Saturday when Otley make the relatively short journey across the Pennines.

To get your free ticket for this game, click this link, download the image and present it at the gate on your smartphone or print it off.

Hoppers will need to pick themselves up after last Saturday’s dramatic finale and take note that Scunthorpe scored more than half of their points tally during the time added on by the referee at the end of each half. The same old problem reared its head during last weeks game and if Hoppers are to survive they’ll need to eradicate this not only for the visit of Otley, but the remainder of the season.

Our visitors suffered a similar fate to ourselves at the hands of league leaders Caldy last Saturday so they’ll be anxious to get back to winning ways at Lightfoot Green and dismiss fears of being sucked into the relegation dogfight.

As it was with Scunthorpe’s poor away form last weekend, Otley have had little success on their trips away from Cross Green, winning just once at Dore Moor back in November. Hopefully Hoppers can add to their travel sickness and start to move away from the bottom of the table.

Before relegation at the end of the 2010/11 season into National 2 North, 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 when the Yorkshire side did the double over Hoppers. This was to be for just one year, with Otley gaining 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 through into the “Leagues” period.

The records show that there have been forty six previous meetings between the two clubs with this Saturday’s opponent holding a slender lead with just a couple of victories plus one match being drawn ten points each back in the 1994/95 season and five others being cancelled. Amongst the games that have been played, League encounters number just fourteen with honours evened up thanks to Otley’s narrow two point victory at Cross Green back in October, a game in which Lewis Allen had a rare off day kicking at goal.

Words by Mike Forshaw, photo by kind permission of Mike Craig.

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