Sean Taylor, Phil Baines, Owen McKenna, Russ Flynn, Matt Hughes, Graham Holroyd, Nathan Fowles, Andy Irving, Alan Martindale, Chris Lowden, Ali Atkinson, Mark Rigbye, Mark Philips, Matt Charters Capt, Dominic Moon,
Chris Gale, Phil Mills, Alex Austin, Ali Murray, Josh Purnell
Tom Hughes has disappointingly failed a fitness test in what was set to be his last game before going overseas. Tom was the stand out player last season and in Head Coach Dave Baldwin’s opinion was the main reason we avoided relegation. “I would like to thank Tom for all his hard work and effort since I have been at the club and wish the best of luck on his travels and hopefully would like to see him back at Hoppers in the future”. His outstanding form also got him noticed, and he was picked to tour Spain with England Counties during the Summer.
Former favourite Owen McKenna steps into the breach after some outstanding performances in the 2nd team and will be hoping to add to his tally of forty one tries for the 1st XV. The Coaches had earmarked Owen to replace Tom but he gets his chance a week early.
The replacements look full of power and pace with last weeks debutant Chris Gale dropping to the bench for the returning Andy Irving. Dave Baldwin is really looking forward to seeing Ally Murray, Alex Austin and new signing Josh Purnell in action this weekend.
New recruit nineteen year old Purnell, is currently studying at University and has recently played for Market Harborough of Midlands 2 East (South). Alex Austin, who signed from Wigan RUFC during the summer, will also be keen to get on the field and make his debut for Hoppers.
The league’s joint top try scorer, Matt Hughes together with prop Chris Lowden will be making their fiftieth starts for Hoppers 1st XV……that’s as long as they both survive the head-to-head of their respective countries earlier in the day!!
Hoppers travel to pastures new for the second consecutive away fixture next Saturday when they visit National 2 new boys Sheffield Tigers. The visitors to Dore Moor will be buoyant after last weeks impressive show against the then league leaders Westoe.
Whilst we haven’t visited this particular part of Sheffield before, many supporters will recall our last visit to the city when a fifty points to seven victory on one of the Abbeydale back pitches over Sheffield, gave Preston Grasshoppers the North 1 Champions title. All that was back in 2005.
Life in National 2 has been something of an up and down experience so far for the South Yorkshire side with two victories in six outings. Notably, their last four results have been very close run things with the biggest margin being just five points.
Mention must be made of our table topping 2nd XV, who nilled another team last Saturday. This time it was Broughton Park’s turn to receive a severe beating. This Friday sees the first of a new initiative where the successful seconds will be taking on local opponents on a Friday night league game. A fixture against Fylde gets the ball rolling under the floodlights with an 8pm kick off in front of what will undoubtedly be a good sized crowd.
Back in Time:
Looking back ten years this week saw us making the long journey to our happy hunting ground of Newbury in what was then a National 2 (Level 3) fixture. Needless to say the usual result prevailed with Hoppers running out winners 30-20. Going back another twenty years to 1981 sees a home fixture against the now defunct Hull and East Riding when seventeen points to nine achieved another victory. Look back a further thirty, and on the 6th of October 1951 we were making the short trip to Manchester for a club fixture in the days before they moved to Cheadle and their current Grove Park ground. Unfortunately the Manchester fixture ended up a twenty-four points to six defeat.
Link to ground directions if you are travelling by car to Sheffield: http://www.sheffieldtigers.co.uk/html/directions.html
For those supporters not travelling to watch the Firsts, there’s a selection games being played at Lightfoot Green, why not come along and take a look. There will also be food available, and of course the bar’s open.
Hoppers 3rds vs. Trafford MV 2
Hoppers 4ths vs. Sedgley Park 3
Sunday sees our Women’s team play a league game against Vagabond at Lightfoot Green with a 2pm Kick Off time. Come along and support the “Floppers”
Our next home game on the 15th of October sees the First XV entertain Harrogate, always an entertaining fixture.