Team News for Hoppers trip to Dore Moor;
1. Chris Gale, 2. Alan Holmes, 3. Richard Morton, 4. Andy Irving, 5. Ali Murray, 6. Andy Napier, 7. Kilian Wallace, 8. Dominic Moon. Captain, 9. Craig Aikman. 10. Lewis Allen, 11. Alex Zavallis Roebuck, 12. Jack Ward, 13. Phil Baines, 14. Antony Elliott, 15. Sean Taylor.
Replacements: 16. Phil Mills, 17. Sam Wallbank, 18. Sam Kindred, 19. Mo Mustafa, 20. Jack Walker.
For the second season in succession Hoppers and their travelling band of supporters have the distinct luxury of making an early season visit to Dore Moor next Saturday where they will be hoping to reverse last season’s defeat at the hands of Sheffield Tigers. A game they should have won after racing into a seventeen point lead in twenty five minutes only for the home side to peg them back running out twenty three to twenty point winners. Hoppers managed to avenge the away defeat with a one point victory in the reverse fixture at Lightfoot Green in January after the pre Christmas game suffered a very late postponement due to persistent heavy rain throughout the morning. Ironically Hoppers once again held a seventeen point to nil lead after just sixteen minutes, but on this occasion managed to hang on for just a single point victory!
Tigers finished the season just two places but twenty points behind Hoppers last term once again finishing in the top half of the table in just their second season at Level 4. They have proudly taken over the mantle of ‘Senior Club’ in the area from local rivals Sheffield in recent years and will be keen to hang onto it.
Our first day opponents have had a busy pre-season with two games against National 1 opposition and another against Bournemouth from N2S. The practice games ended with away defeats at Doncaster Knights and Hull Ionians and a single point victory over Bournemouth. Tigers were due to play Championship side Rotherham last Saturday but both clubs thought better about the arrangement and decided to cancel, resulting in Sheffield meeting Bournemouth from N2S for a halfway journey at Nothampton’s Franklin’s Gardens.
Hoppers on the other hand took a different route in their pre-season with two warm-up games against lower league opponents, Huddersfield away then newly promoted and ambitious Sale FC at home both from N3N. After securing victory with two late converted tries at Lockwood Park Hoppers just missed out on a repeat performance against Sale with the last conversion scraping the wrong side of an upright.
Our hosts this coming weekend have parted company with a number of players during the summer months, mainly to fellow Yorkshire Championship side Rotherham. Top try scorer Jamie Broadley (27 last season), prop Jarrod Parkinson and back row Mark Argle amongst the departed along with Mark Chivers who has signed for fellow N2N side Otley.
For those supporters not travelling to watch the Firsts, there’s a selection of games being played at Lightfoot Green so why not come along and take a look. The Seconds entertain Vale of Lune, the Third XV host Rossendale Seconds and our Fourths Rochdale 3. Sunday sees our Junior Colts kick off their season with a home fixture against Manchester, this game kicking off at 2pm.
The First XV’s opening home game the following week, Saturday the 14th of September will see them entertain local rivals Sedgley Park and will be keen to avenge their Lancashire Cup Final defeat at Park Lane back in early May.
As last Sunday the 1st of September was the 40th anniversary of Preston Grasshoppers first game at Lightfoot Green, it is the club’s intention to celebrate the event at the Sedgley Park game. See details elsewhere on the website for what’s planned. Why not book a place for lunch and join in the fun. Excellent value of £17.50 pp includes a three course lunch, programme and admission to the game.
Link to ground directions if you are travelling by car to Sheffield: http://www.sheffieldtigers.co.uk/html/directions.html
Photographs courtesy of Mike Forshaw.