This Saturday will see Preston Grasshoppers travel across to Yorkshire for the final time this season to compete in ‘The Battle of the Bottom Two’ atop Dore More where Sheffield Tigers will be acting as hosts.
Hoppers (29pts) sit just one place above bottom side Tigers (27pts) who will be equally desperate as the visitors to record what could be a defining victory as this season draws to its conclusion.
Normally the bottom three from National 2 South and North are relegated come the end of the season but with the demise of London Welsh from the Championship, another escape route has opened up.
Currently Harrogate (40pts) sit in the fourth from bottom place so the other chance of survival in National 2 North would be to reach the third from bottom slot currently held by Scunthorpe (33pts) and hope to have a better points total than the Southern side in that position come the 29th of next month. Barnes (39pts) currently occupy that place in National 2 South with Worthing (39pts) just above them due to the fact they’ve had seven wins.
Despite last weeks disappointment, a win for Hoppers over in Yorkshire will give them real hope of survival with three of their final five games to be played at Lightfoot Green and if they can re-create the form they showed just a couple of weeks ago in the resounding defeat of promotion seeking Leicester Lions, they must believe it’s possible.
Back to this weekends game and our hosts over at Dore Moor regained their Level 4 status at the end of last season after finishing Champions of National 3 North last term after being somewhat surprisingly relegated from this division back in 2014 after looking comfortable at this level for a couple of seasons.
The two clubs have now met seven times since the Yorkshire side elevated themselves to this level in the league pyramid with Hoppers having a ‘one win’ advantage thanks to their victory on Number 2 Pitch at Lightfoot Green back in November last year.
Words by Mike Forshaw, photo by Mike Craig.