Promoted Preston Grasshoppers will finish how they started

Preston Grasshoppers’ promotion journey, which started with a resounding 77-0 home defeat of Northwich back in September, ends against the same opponents tomorrow.

By Paul Outhwaite
Friday, 22nd April 2022, 8:00 am

The North Premier League trip to Cheshire comes with Hoppers still having an outside chance of topping the table, but that would need leaders Otley to lose at eighth-placed York.

Whether they finish first or second, there should be plenty to celebrate in Paul Arnold’s final league outing as head coach. Hoppers are bidding for a 14th straight league win, Matt Lamprey makes his 100th appearance at No.8, flanker Toby Harrison his 50th, Mark Murray is on the bench for his 100th and Lamprey, centre Sam Stott and prop Pete Altham have all been named in the North Premier Team of the Season , with the latter voted overall Player of the Season.

Northwich have long been doomed to bottom spot, having just one draw to show for their efforts in 25 games.

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Action from Hoppers' Lancashire Cup semi-final against Blackburn (photo: Mike Craig)

Jordan Dorrington returns at centre, but brother Ben is unavailable this week.

Vale of Lune fly off to the Isle of Man to take on Douglas, who are next to bottom of North One West.

Vale are ninth, following nine victories and 15defeats.

They are due to wind up their season with a rearranged home date with bottom club Carlisle next Saturday.

Chris Ramwell reverts to full-back this week, with Henry Higginson coming in on the wing. Max Cross is in the back row and there are places on the bench for Harry Morrison and Shane Weed.

Fylde, more or less resigned to a fifth-place finish in National League Two North, travel to Chester for their penultimate fixture.

The hosts are ninth, with 12 victories out of 28, while Fylde have won 20 and lost eight, including their last two. They comfortably beat Chester 40-10 at Ansdell in December.

Hoppers: Browne; Clapham, J Dorrington, Stott, Spence; Pearson, Moulding; Trippier, Taylor, Altham, A Murray, Gale, Harrison, Bramhall, Lamprey. Replacements: Mabaya, Norrington, M Murray.

Vale: Ramwell; Fern, Hall, Jacques, Higginson; Finan, Orr; Stephens, Powers, Mount, Harrison, Fellows, Nicholson, Cross, Ayrton. Replacements: Branford, Morrison, Weed.