Trip to Macc for 1st XV

Date: 15 September 2015

Macclesfield vs. Preston Grasshoppers – Kick Off 3pm

Hoppers travel to Cheshire once again this coming Saturday and will be renewing acquaintances with old adversaries Macclesfield who’ve had another stay in National 1 before relegation struck once again at the end of last season.

After last week’s home win against newly promoted Sale, Garth Dew will be hoping to extend the winning sequence and improve on his team’s last away performance at Chester now that his squad have gelled somewhat.

The Priory Lane club also lost on the opening day of the season but like Hoppers turned things round last Saturday with a home win over fellow Cheshire side Caldy who will be Hoppers next opponents at Lightfoot Green.

The two teams last met in National 2 North action during 2013/14 when on their way to promotion, Macclesfield were victorious both home and away. In fact, the Cheshire side has run out victors on the last six meetings between the two sides. The last Hoppers success coming in the fixture at Lightfoot Green back in January 2007 when Olly Viney scored a couple of tries in a thirty-two points to eighteen victory. Hoppers did the double that season, winning thirty points to twenty at Priory Park when Juan Crous, now Sedgley Park’s Skipper crossed for a Hoppers try.

Competitive games between the two clubs go back to 1993 when the first meeting took place at Lightfoot Green on the 6th of November, Hoppers taking the spoils eighteen points to ten.

There have been nineteen meetings between the two clubs at First Team level, with honours shared at nine wins each plus one game drawn thirty-six all. Victories in league fixtures has the advantage in Macclesfield’s favour by eight to five.

Early days yet but already there have been a number of significant and unexpected results so far this season. Sandal have been the surprise package winning both their opening games and sending promotion favourites Stourbridge back home without what they must have thought would be a certain win. It’s certainly taken the wind out of their followers sails on the ‘Rolling Maul’ forum. Broadstreet have had a poor start as have Luctonians and Otley whilst Sedgely Park have started like an express train.

A look at the sides relegated from our league at the end of last season sees Birmingham Solihull’s slide continuing after two consecutive home defeats in Midlands 1. Hull had a massive win over Burnage on the opening Saturday only to have their colours lowered by Stockport at The Ferens last week in North 1 and whilst speaking of that division there must have been a tremendous atmosphere at Dore Moor where Tigers faced (and defeated) Sheffield’s former glory team last week in front of 800 spectators, the first time both Sheffield sides have faced each other in League Rugby.

Looking at the two clubs who were promoted from National 1 back in April/May, Hull Ionians managed a home win at the first attempt, something it took them until early November to achieve on their last visit to that division. Ampthill have started very well with a two out of two record and sit joint top with Coventry, whilst our opponents this week and fellow relegatees from that league Tynedale have both won one and lost one.

Photograph courtesy of Michael Craig (Sean Taylor on his way to the try line during the last meeting between the two sides at Lightfoot Green)

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