Trip to Chester for 1st XV

Date: 19 February 2015

Pete Altham supported by Will Lees, Sam Kindred, Lewis Allen and Chris Taylor against Chester at Lightfoot Green back in November.

Chester vs. Preston Grasshoppers – Kick Off 3.00pm

Team News

1. Madden, 2. Mills, 3. Altham, 4. Banks, 5. Murray A (C), 6. Lees, 7. Walker, 8. Taylor, 9. Kindred, 10. Allen, 11. O’Donnell, 12. Woof, 13. Russell, 14. Yates, 15. Murray M

16. McGuiness, 17. Holmes, 18.Moon, 19. Hurst, 20. Reddick


Hoppers travel to Chester Rugby Club this coming weekend and will want to change the trend of meetings between the two clubs since Chester’s promotion to National 2 during which time the Cheshire side have won all three contests.

The visitors will take heart from last weeks performance against high flying Hull Ionians who probably only took the spoils thanks to the officials failing to spot a dropped ball close to Hoppers try line which resulted in their bonus point and converted winning try.

Chester have built on a successful first season when they finished in a very respectful fifth position and currently hold third place in the table closely followed by Cheshire rivals Caldy.

With most teams in our league entering the final quarter of the season it looks like Stockport are doomed and with Birmingham Solihull, Luctonians and Hull all locked together on thirty eight points the additional two relegation places will most likely come from two of these three. There appears to have been an insurgence of players added to the Hull squad in an effort to avoid the drop and with Hoppers just eleven points clear of the above three, nothing can be taken for granted at Lightfoot Green.

At the other end of the table it looks nailed on that last week’s visitors Hull Ionians together with Ampthill will hold the top two places come the end of April although on last week’s display Ionians will struggle once again in National 1 unless they add significantly to the playing squad and change the playing tactics on view at Lightfoot Green last Saturday.

A look at the bottom of National 1 shows Macclesfield are due to ‘do an Ionians’ with Tynedale the club most likely to join them in National 2 North next season. Macclesfield have failed to survive more than one season whilst the North Easterners from Corbridge have been at Level 3 for seven seasons. Loughborough Students, Wharfedale and Blaydon will all need to put a run of wins together in an effort not to get dragged into the struggle and take the unenviable third relegation spot.

South Leicester, a club situated just a couple of miles from Leicester Lions look certain to gain promotion from Midlands 1 at the end of the season whilst Sale and Sandal can’t be separated at this stage in North 1. The top two from these leagues will be promoted together with the play-off winners into National 2 North.

Back to this weeks opponents and before last season the two teams last met in competitive action during Hoppers short stay in North 1 back on the 5th of February 2005 when a relatively comfortable away victory was achieved by twenty points to five completing the double that season for Hoppers. Since then a couple of pre-season ‘training’ fixtures have taken place, both at Chester’s ground with honours shared until last season’s league fixtures.

Competitive games between the two clubs go back to almost fifty years ago when the inaugural game took place at our Lea ground on the 23rd of October 1965 where Hoppers won by a single point in a game of thirty three. Since then there have been twenty six meetings between the two clubs with our opponents winning fifteen to eleven by ourselves.

Photograph courtesy of Mike Craig

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