Wirral Match Preview

Date: 07 September 2017

After last weeks narrow victory at Sandal, Hoppers kick off their home campaign with a League match against first time visitors to Lightfoot Green from the Wirral, the aptly named Wirral RUFC.

By Mike Forshaw

After starting the opening game at Sandal in impressive fashion, Hoppers let their superiority slip away late in the first half and only regained some composure in time for Matt Lamprey to add to his earlier effort, galloping down the wing and scoring the bonus point try. It was then left up to another new boy Jake Squirrel to keep his nerve and kick the winning points.

Sat in the comfort of Sandal’s Clubhouse’s bar after the final whistle, the travelling supporters reflected on how many times the boot had been on the other foot last season, when with victory in sight the opposition snatched it away deep into injury time.

The large party of travellers to Yorkshire last Saturday would like to think they made an impact on Hoppers performance, they certainly made themselves heard around the ground during proceedings.

Our visitors this week held a position in the top third of this league for much of last season and at one time looked candidates for the play off spot which ultimately Rossendale ended up claiming. The East Lancashire club made the decision to take a strong side to Wirral for the last game of the league season instead of resting players for the play off game the following Saturday. A decision that was to cost them dearly as in a bad tempered game they lost a number of key players who may have made the difference against Sheffield the following week in the promotion decider.

Wirral hosted promoted Pocklington last Saturday in their opening game of the season and after a successful pair of pre-season games against Waterloo and Altrincham Kersal, carried on in the same vein with a comfortable victory over the newcomers.

Hoppers will no doubt find this weeks opponents a step up from Sandal and need to take the early performance from last week into their latest encounter.

The Wirral club was founded in 1936 with Old Boy’s from Wirral Grammar School and once the RFU league structure was formed they gradually elevated themselves to Level  5 of the pyramid which is the peak of their League achievements to date. As mentioned previously, the two clubs have never met at 1st XV level and as the Cheshire side are not part of the League Structure our other senior sides partake in, this may well be the first ever meeting between any Preston Grasshoppers and Wirral sides?

Hoppers travel over to Yorkshire once again for their next away fixture after this Saturday’s game against Wirral and the 1869 Club are hoping to run a supporters coach once again. The amount of those interested will determine whether the journey is viable or not, therefore anyone who is interested in travelling should add their name to the list which will be posted in the usual place.


Unsurprisingly with many new faces adding to Hoppers ranks over the summer months there were quite a few players making their debuts for the 1st XV at Sandal last Saturday. Amongst these James Fitzpatrick, Matt Lamprey and Paul Arnold scored all four tries on the day with Jake Squirrel adding three conversions. Others pulling on the famous Hoppers shirt for the first time in a senior game were Sam Stott, George Skofic, Skipper ‘PJ’ Millea and Olly Trippier, with Alex Hurst making an appearance off the bench.

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