Derby ‘hostilities’ to be revived today

Brendan Hanavan in action
Brendan Hanavan in action
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Derby rivalry is revived at the Woodlands Memorial Ground this afternoon (2.30pm), pitting Preston Grasshoppers against Fylde in the worthiest of causes.

It is the second annual Brendan Hanavan memorial match in honour of the free-scoring Fylde winger, who died in 2013 after a battle against cancer.

In the inaugural match at Lightfoot Green 12 months ago, Hoppers won 47-42.

Hanavan was a regular in Fylde’s first XV making 324 appearances and scoring 198 tries.

He also played for Lancashire and British 
Police, Nottingham 
University, Liverpool 
St Helens and Irish Wolfhounds.

Money raised from the event will go to the Oral Cancer Foundation, a charity which supported Hanavan in the two years of his life

The men behind the memorial match were Michael Bailey, chairman of rugby at Preston Grasshoppers, and Andy Hiles, Fylde RFC’s chairman.

Hiles said: “Brendan was a fantastic player and this is a fitting tribute by pitting fierce rivals against each other to have the honour of lifting a trophy in his name.

“He was a great player and well-liked by anyone who came into contact with him.”

Bailey added: “Brendan was a great servant to the game and a true gent.

“This annual game is a fine way to remember him and his contribution to rugby, while raising funds for a very worthwhile cause.”

The team managers for this fixture, Michael Lough for Hoppers and Ian Cosh for Fylde, will be selecting mixed squads of current players with a few former players, also taking part.

Cosh said: “We’ll be taking the match seriously, while maintaining links with Brendan’s former team-mates and police colleagues.

“The core of the team is likely to be Fylde first and second team squad members, with some younger fringe players who will benefit from the experience of a derby game.”

The game will be refereed by National League official Andy Taylorson.