Title-winners Preston and Vale hope to celebrate in style

Ally Murray switches to lock (photo: Mike Craig)
Ally Murray switches to lock (photo: Mike Craig)

No rest for the champions. Preston Grasshoppers, newly-crowned kings of the North Premier League, and Vale of Lune, confirmed as title-winners in North One West last weekend, are both straight back into action tomorrow.

Hoppers are at home to Morley, whom they defeated 38-10 in Yorkshire earlier in the campaign. With three fixtures left to play (two of them at Lightfoot Green), Hoppers head coach Paul Arnold said: “It gives us a chance to look at other lads to see what strength in depth we have.”

But not this weekend, with Hoppers aiming to celebrate receiving the trophy in style by fielding a strong side to defend their 11-match unbeaten home record.

Louis McGowan is unavailable, so Ally Murray switches to lock and Sam Gale returns to the back row. Centres Alex Hurst and James Fitzpatrick, unavailable last Saturday, are also back.

After some reorganisation of the North One West league table due to the expulsion of St Benedicts, Vale find 
themselves 19 points clear at the top and therefore 
uncatchable.

They travel to eighth-placed Warrington, where they will choose from the same 18 who did duty last Saturday, plus returning prop Ross Pillow.

Fylde travel to eighth-placed Bishop’s Stortford.

Hoppers: Jordan; Spence, Hurst, Fitzpatrick, Crosley; Ward, Squirrell; Mabaya, Millea, Altham, Roddy, A Murray, Gale, Trippier, Lamprey. Replacements: Madden, Arnold, Stott.

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