Preston Grasshoppers boss is not fully satisfied despite 12-try romp

Despite their blistering start to the season last weekend, Preston Grasshoppers know they will still have to up their game for their second North Premier League outing at Otley tomorrow.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 8:00 am

Head coach Paul Arnold and his squad are well aware that, even in a 12-try, 77-0 victory, they let a number of points go begging against Northwich.

Otley are old rivals and were relegated alongside Hoppers when Covid put paid to the end of the 2019/20 campaign.

The Yorkshireman were then in 14th place, one above Preston, with the sides producing that most unusual result, a 0-0 draw, at Otley early in the season. The return clash had been scheduled to take place after the pandemic broke out.

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Preston Grasshoppers ran in 12 tries against Northwich (photo: Mike Craig)

While Hoppers were running riot last Saturday, Otley also had an impressive bonus-point win, 33-10, against York, who are the visitors to Preston next Saturday.

There are two changes to Hoppers’ starting line-up. Will Clapham broke his fibula last week, so Tyler Spence, who scored twice as a replacement, comes in on the wing.

Pete Altham replaces Olli Trippier at prop after proving his fitness for the second XV. Trippier is on the bench, along with Jake Ball, who will be making his debut, and Matt Crow.

Vale of Lune resume their local rivalry with Kendal, who have returned to North One West this term after being transferred to North One East for last season.

Both sides began with five-point victories last Saturday, Kendal winning 45-7 at Carlisle, while Vale were seeing off Douglas at Powderhouse Lane.

Steve Tagg and Jack Turton are unavailable, but Sam Wallbank returns to the Vale back row, while Jordan Fern comes in on the wing with Matthew Humpage moving to centre.

There is a debut at scrum-half for Rueben Orr, while skipper Andy Powers faces a late fitness check.

In National League Two North, Fylde and tomorrow’s visitors, Loughborough Students, both started with wins, although the Students missed out on a four-try bonus point, while Fylde picked up all five.

Hoppers: Pearson; Spence, J Dorrington, Stott, Browne; Walker, Squirrell; Miller, Taylor, Altham, Procter, Murray, Harrison, Gale, Lamprey. Replacements: Trippier, Crow, Ball.

Vale: Ramwell; Cross, Manning, Humpage, Fern; Finan, Orr; Branford, Powers, O’Heirhir (correct), Robinson, Fellows, Crookall, Ayrton, Wallbank.