Champions Preston Grasshoppers aiming to finish on a high

Hoppers head coach Paul Arnold
Hoppers head coach Paul Arnold

Preston Grasshoppers hope to put last Saturday’s defeat – only the second of the season – behind them and finish with a flourish when they host Sandal to round off their title-winning campaign in the North Premier League on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

The Yorkshiremen are 11th in the table after seven victories, one draw and 16 defeats, which include Hoppers’ 26-24 away win on the opening day and last weekend’s surprise loss to already-relegated Pocklington.

Hoppers’ aim tomorrow is to go through the season with a 100 per cent record at Lightfoot Green, having won all 12 there to date.

In total, they have 22 victories, one draw and two defeats.

Head coach Paul Arnold gives a second start of the season to hooker Connor Johnson and a last bow in the back row for Matt Frings, who is emigrating to the States.

The back division has a more familiar look with the return of half-backs Alex Ward and Jake Squirrell, allowing Scott Jordan to revert to full-back.

Sam Stott is back at centre after helping Lancashire Under-20s to the county final last weekend.

Elsewhere, Vale of Lune are looking to top 1,000 points in this year’s North One West, when they travel to Burnage.

They need just 16 more in their last two games.

Burnage are seventh in the table following 10 victories, a draw and 12 defeats, including a 58-17 thumping at Powderhouse Lane at the start of the campaign. Champions Vale have lost just twice.

They will make a late selection from a squad which includes the returning Jordan Dorrington, who missed last week through illness.

There is a National League One relegation scrap at Ansdell, where already-doomed Fylde host Loughborough Students, who are also in trouble, third from bottom, but with a game in hand of Hull Ionians, who are three points ahead of them.

Fylde’s losing streak is now 15 games in an overall record of just three wins out of 28.

The Students have won nine – including a 
21-0 whitewash of Fylde at Loughborough – with three draws and 15 defeats.

Hoppers: Jordan; Trueman, Hurst, Stott, Crosley; Ward, Squirrell; Mabaya, Johnson, Altham, McGowan, A Murray, Gale, Frings, Lamprey. Replacements: Millea, Fitzpatrick, Arnold.

Vale (from): Higgin, J Dorrington, Hall, B Dorrington, Owens, Jacques, Turton, Swarbrick; Mawdsley, Powers, Pillow, Fellows, Wallbank, Ayrton, Sadler, Stewart, Rainford.