Stour Away For 1st XV

Date: 27 November 2014

Phil Mills makes a break last week against Luctonians

Stourbridge vs. Preston Grasshoppers – Kick Off 3.00pm

Team News

Just one change from last weeks starting line up with Anthony Elliott taking the number eleven shirt. The bench also sees a change, Harry Moulding hasn’t recovered in time so Sam Kindred takes the vacant place.

1 Oga Mabaya, 2 Phil Mills, 3 Pete Altham, 4 Jack Banks, 5 Ally Murray, 6 Andy Napier, 7 Will Lees, 8 Chris Taylor, 9 Sam Whyte, 10 Lewis Allen,11 Anthony Elliott, 12 Sam Russell, 13 Phil Baines (Captain), 14 Scott Jordan,15 Mark Murray


16 Brad Tuff, 17, Tom McGuinness, 18 Jack Walker, 19 Sam Kindred, 20 Billy Woof.


After getting back to winning ways last Saturday against Luctonians, Hoppers make the trip to Stourbridge’s Stourton Park with a view to reverse a trend which has seen them defeated in all four games since the Midlanders returned to National 2 North, and in the last six meetings between the two clubs.

Hoppers will be heartened with the victory gained over Luctonians last week but not satisfied that they didn’t inflict a much bigger winning margin between themselves and the Herefordshire side after scoring two early tries.

Garth Dew’s charges will be looking to avenge a comprehensive defeat at Stourton around this time last season when the visitors were well and truly routed. But much has changed at the home sides camp since the end of last season and Preston Grasshoppers will be looking to both build on last weeks success and reverse a trend stretching back far too long.

With Caldy and Otley lowering the home club’s colours and Sedgley Park achieving a draw, fortress Stourton doesn’t appear to hold the same fear factor for visiting sides as in previous seasons when they won twenty eight out of thirty league games. However, Hoppers must take note that the home side have shown some resolve in recent weeks with the drawn game against Sedgley Park and a narrow victory at neighbours Birmingham Solihull last time out. Be it players returning to fitness or sterner resolve, Hoppers and their supporters will discover next Saturday.

Stourbridge have fallen just short of promotion for the last two season, and will be hoping to catch the leading pack during the rest of this season, but at this stage that looks a bridge too far.

Meetings between Hoppers and Stourbridge go back to the 24th of November 1973 in our very first season at Lightfoot Green. Hoppers ran out narrow winners that day by six points to three, before the return fixture at Stourton two seasons later when the home side recorded a comfortable victory.

The next meeting was the day after the annual Fylde Boxing Day match in 1986, the season before leagues were formed and both Hoppers and Stourbridge started their respective journey into league rugby together at level 4 in what was then titled the Courage Area League (North).

The two clubs had stayed partners at this level until Hoppers promotion, a season when Stourbridge together with New Brighton and Kendal (who were promoted the following season) were Hoppers main challengers throughout with a January twenty five points to ten victory at Stourton Park probably being the deciding factor.

Stourbridge finally gained promotion to what was then National 2 a couple of seasons later in what was to prove Hoppers final season at that level and until relegation four seasons ago, the Midlands outfit had maintained Level 3 status.

The all time playing record between next week’s opponents has Stourbridge having won fourteen matches to Hoppers eleven. The league record tells a similar story with nine victories to Hoppers and twelve to Stourbridge. The overall record includes a forty four points to nineteen Powergen Cup victory to Stourbridge during the 1995/6 season at Lightfoot Green, which until last season at Stourton Park was their biggest winning margin over Hoppers whilst a thirty two points to three victory in their promotion season also in Preston was the Hoppers best effort.

Photograph by kind permission of Colin Taylor.

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