A weekend break will suit Hoppers

  • Blank day for Preston Grasshoppers and Fylde on Saturday
  • Three Hoppers players to move to Ansdell next season
  • A trio of Lancashire players nanmed in England Counties squad
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Fans of Preston Grasshoppers and Fylde have nothing to distract them from the final Saturday of the Six Nations Championship as their clubs both have a blank day tomorrow.

They will both no doubt be using it to regroup from big defeats last weekend.

Hoppers’ damaging loss at Luctonians dropped them back to 12th in National League Two North, while 14th-placed Hull’s defeat of Stockport took the Humbersiders to within six points of Preston with four games left.

Leicester Lions leapfrogged Hoppers with their victory over Chester.

One bonus for the Preston fans is that Hull’s next two games are against two of the top three clubs – Ampthill and Sedgley Park.

But the relegation battle could still all come down to Hoppers’ visit to Hull on the last day of the campaign.

Fylde, meanwhile, will be licking their wounds after their mauling at home by promotion favourites Ealing Trailfinders last weekend, although the men from Ansdell remain comfortably in fifth place in National League One.

They have also dealt a blow to their neighbours by announcing that new head coach Paul Arnold has recruited three players from Lightfoot Green for next season.

Brop Pete Altham will be returning to his former club, leading points scorer Lewis Allen and No.8 forward Dominic Moon, who has missed most of this season after surgery, are all on the move.

After their own weekend off, it is back to business tomorrow in North One West, where Vale of Lune host Broughton Park, and third-placed Kendal are at home to Warrington, who are eighth.

Broughton Park are two places and four points above ninth-placed Vale, having won half of their 22 games to date.

The Lancastrians have eight victories and 14 defeats overall, with six victories in 11 games at Powderhouse Lane.

It is a month since Vale’s last home fixture, when they gained a shock win over Kendal.

Amid a number of changes from the side which lost at Wigton a fortnight ago, there is a first-team debut at centre for Tom Crookall, who has been away from the club for several seasons but has been featuring well for the seconds.

Adam Macluskie moves out to the wing and Rob Lamberton switches to full-back.

There is a new second-row pairing – Jack McIntosh, who came on as a replacement at Wigton, and Ben Charnley, subject to a late fitness check, with Alex Baines reverting to the back row.

Vale: Lamberton; Birchall, Crookall, Lomas, Macluskie; Carter, Swarbrick; McLaren-Dorrington, D Baines, Powers, McIntosh, Charnley, Garnett, A Baines, Wallbank. Replacements: Pillow, Barker, Owens.

Hoppers have two teams through to the finals of the BEST Cup at Sandbach on May 2.

The 2nd XV beat Sandbach 56-0 in the semis and now play Vale 2nds and the 3rd XV beat Trafford MV 2nds to set up a final date with Leigh 2nds.

Three Lancashire forwards have been named in the England Counties squad for a triangular international tournament at Hartpury College from March 28 to April 4.

They are Jack Conteh and Joseph Duffy, both of Myerscough College, and John Mackenzie of Runshaw College.