Stockport vs. Preston Grasshoppers – Kick Off 2.00pm
Tomorrow’s line-up sees the return from injury of Sean Long and Captain Dominic Moon. Karl Fitzpatrick moves back to his more usual position in the centres and Conor Murphy replaces Will Keenan in the back row making way for the Skipper’s return.
1. Chris Gale, 2. Phil Mills, 3. Dan Madden, 4. Gareth Gore, 5. Wayne Steel, 6. Conor Murphy,7. Eddie Webster, 8. Dominic Moon, Captain.9. Sam Kindred. 10. Sean Long, 11. Phil Baines, 12. Jack Ward, 13. Karl Fitzpatrick, 14. Adam Birchall, 15. Sean Taylor.
Replacements: 16. Andy Irving, 17. Alan Holmes, 18. Alex Austin, 19. Killian Wallace, 20. Anthony Elliott.
A relatively short journey this coming Saturday as Hoppers travel to Stockport’s Memorial Ground in Bramhall where I’m sure Hoppers “old boys” Zav’, ‘Bunny’, James Mawdesley and Jordan will have a warm welcome waiting for their former colleagues!
The close proximity of our opponents gives the chance of a first outing for the 1869 Club Charabanc, details of which you can find in the News section of the website.
Last season’s trip proved successful when Sean Long scored a try on his début, Hoppers running out winners thirty points to twenty. After Saturday’s demolition of Huddersfield when the Hoppers try scoring machine ran in another eight touchdowns and Sean Taylor’s haul of thirty one points took him to the top of the Leagues Points scoring table, it will be hoped the machine keeps on rolling. Incidentally Sean’s points haul took him past one hundred points for the season.
Stockport coped quite well with the transition up to Level 4 rugby in their first season and whilst they had a mixture of results, their victory over the ultimate league champions Loughborough Students at the Memorial Ground made the rest of the league sit up and take notice. This season however they are experiencing that second season dilemma which seems to affect plenty of clubs. The euphoria of promotion in 2011 has long disappeared and after eight games they are still seeking a first ‘W’. The rot appears to have set in during the latter part of last season with just the two victories since the end of January and one in the last fourteen games. A very similar story as our opponents last weekend in fact. Looking back to previewing this fixture last season Stockport stood one place above Hoppers so whilst Hoppers form has improved their opponents has certainly taken a turn for the worse. However the visitors mustn’t be complacent and can expect the “Hoppers Old Boys” having something to say about the outcome.
Whilst the name Stockport is a fairly new one on Hoppers long list of opponents, some of our older members will recall visiting the same venue when the Cheshire club played there under the name of Davenport before they metamorphosed into Stockport in 1992.
Hoppers and Davenport first meeting was over forty years ago on the 13th of February 1971 at the Bramhall ground when the home team came up with a narrow victory fourteen points to eight after a scoreless first half. Listed on Hoppers Team-Sheet that day where Pete Ashcroft and Keith Brierley.
There have been twenty-three meetings between the ‘three’ clubs, Hoppers winning sixteen, Davenport six and Stockport nil with one ending in a three all draw. After the first game, fixtures were kept every year until the last meeting on the 17th of March 1990 at Lightfoot Green when the visitors replaced the scheduled opponents Wigan. We should have met once more, during the following month, but a Lancashire Cup Semi Final against LSH looks to have taken precedence.
Link to ground directions if you are travelling by car to Stockport:
http://www.stockportrugby.co.uk/location/ but please try and support the 1869 Club who give valuable financial, volunteer and vocal support to the Hoppers Club!
Many thanks to those who made donations or bought wristbands last weekend.