Scunthorpe Trip for Hoppers

Date: 29 September 2016

Scunthorpe vs. Preston Grasshoppers – Kick Off 3.00pm

Preston Grasshoppers make a rare trip into Lincolnshire this coming Saturday where they’ll be making just their second visit to newly promoted Scunthorpe RFC’s Heslam Park ground.

Whilst this season hasn’t got off to the best of starts, it’s a long way from the losing streak that ended with our last visit to Lincolnshire. The twenty nine points to fifteen success finished a record run of twenty consecutive League defeats, the last taste of success coming during the previous season in National 1 over Rosslyn Park at Lightfoot Green on the 24th of November 2001.

Apart from a try by scrum half Charlie Du Pre, Hoppers points on the day against Scunthorpe back in 2002 were scored by Sengili Tuihalamaka with a try, five penalties and a couple of conversions.

Another plus point on the day was the debut of Rich Morton who was to become a stalwart for Hoppers on and off the playing field. Richard went on to make another two hundred and eighteen appearances and in so doing scoring forty one tries together with Captaining the 1st XV for a couple of seasons. New Head Coach Alex Keay had brought in Rich plus Andy Dickinson from his last club Manchester FC during the week leading up to the Scunthorpe game, but whilst the Hoppers future Skipper went on to become a legend within the club, Andy who was equally talented wasn’t so fortunate suffering a career ending injury after making just eight appearances for Hoppers.

Whilst Captain of the day John Chesworth has long hung up his boots, a youthful Olly Viney appeared on the wing in this his first season at Lightfoot Green, going on to score fifteen tries in the process and will be hoping to add to his tally this Saturday.

Compare the league tables between now and prior to the game back on the 12th of October 2002 and there’s a grave similarity. Back in the day, Hoppers & Scunthorpe were both pointless and propping up the table with the ‘Greens’ rock bottom, a position they stayed in for the whole season gaining just one success in a single point victory at Hull Ionians, who finished next to bottom. Thankfully, Hoppers recovered to ninth place by the end of the season.

Back to the present and both teams won their opening games this season, Hoppers at Wharfedale whilst the home side defeated Chester by just a couple of points at Heslam in a close encounter. Since then neither side has tasted success or even gained a bonus point, so from this it isn’t hard to see the forthcoming game is of great importance for the two of them.

With both teams losing last Saturday a similar situation exists from when the two teams last met, with just Yorkshire side Harrogate sitting beneath them.

As mentioned previously, Hoppers and Scunthorpe will be desperate to gain success this Saturday but Hoppers will be hoping for a victory to match their last visit to Heslam Park which would help them pull away from the danger zone and the bottom three drop spots.

Photo courtesy of Mike Craig – Almost but not quite! Olly Viney’s run to the try line is about to be cut short by a desperate Caldy defender while Charles Hough is shepherded away from giving any support.

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