Sale FC to visit Lightfoot Green

Date: 05 December 2016

Preston Grasshoppers vs. Sale – Kick Off 2:15pm

Preston Grasshoppers host near neighbours Sale in what will be the final home game of the year and may well be the last 1st XV league fixture played on grass at Lightfoot Green.

Fixtures against Sale have been few and far between, but there can’t be many present day clubs who can still boast fixtures against each other for well over one hundred years. Together with ourselves, Sale F.C. are one of three clubs in our league who were formed during the 1860’s, the other being Otley from 1868 with last weeks opponents from Harrogate born shortly afterwards in 1871 and just Tynedale and Hinckley who can trace their roots back to the 19th Century.

Our visitors suffered a rare defeat last week whilst Hoppers threw away a vital win at Harrogate due to a series of naive pieces of play in injury time which gave the home side the initiative and eventually the winning points. After gamely battling back from another first half deficit, the visitors clawed their way back into the game scoring twenty six unanswered points in the process, only to suffer the ignominy of an injury time relapse.

Our opponents will travel to Preston determined to get back to winning ways and maintain their challenge for promotion, whilst the home side will once again be facing a team who’ve suffered defeat at the hands of league leaders Caldy in their previous game. Due to the fixture matrix, this has occurred in all previous games back to when we travelled to Otley during early October, a pattern only interrupted by South Leicester who drew their home game against Caldy.

Last season saw Hoppers win the opening home game of the season against National 2 North newcomers Sale before drawing a game they should have comfortably won at Heywood Road later in the season. Prior to last season’s League meetings a pre-season practice game at Lightfoot Green in 2013 was our last fixture with the Cheshire outfit. Going back further there was a Good Friday game at the Sale ground back in 1991 when the home team handed out a bit of a thrashing, thirty points to four and although fixtures between the two clubs have been few and far between, they go a long way back with the first meeting being played at West Cliff on the 1st of November 1884 when the home side ran out winners.

Sale’s climb up the leagues saw them moving into National 2 North as Champions of National 3 North a couple of seasons ago and with the Cheshire side’s close links with break-away Premiership side Sale Sharks they’ll be hoping to proceed with their climb up the National Leagues with the Championship at Level 2 no doubt being their ultimate aim.

In all Hoppers 1st XV and Sale/Sale ‘A’ have faced each other in fifteen fixtures with the Cheshire side winning on five occasions to Preston Grasshoppers nine plus last term’s drawn game. There have been three pre-season practice games recently with Sale & Sale Jets who have the advantage two to one and over the years there have been three cancelled fixtures.

Photograph courtesy of Mike Craig – Jacob Browne who was back on the score-sheet last week for Hoppers at Harrogate.

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