Preston Grasshoppers reguarly put out six senior rugby sides as well as a womens rugby team. Hoppers season didnt start the way that they hoped with a narrow defeat at their Lightfoot Green ground to Hull Rugby Club on the opening day of the season leaving Hoppers new coach Garth Dew remaining positive but identifying that there is work to complete. For the second game of the season they picked up the peices and travelled away to Otley with a winning margin of a converted try 24 - 17. To keep everyone on their toes Preston split the difference for Kick off time with a 14:30 kick off Saturday 20th September.
For the Statititions amongst you Preston finished in 11th Place in NL2N season 2013-14 winning 13 of their 30 fixtures with 9 try bonus points and 6 loosing bonus points. Lewis Allen providing 125 of their points from the boot, Sean Taylor their leading try scorer with six tries.
On the 28th September 1869 a meeting was held at the Bull Hotel, Preston at which the following resolution was passed: ‘That a club be at once formed in Preston to play football with the Rugby Rules of the game but without hacking. That the club be called ‘The Preston Grasshoppers.’
This meeting took place a few months after the idea of starting a Rugby Football in Preston was conceived by five men who had attended rugby playing schools; A.C. Dickson, C. Threlfall, G.H. Dickson, J.H. Threlfall & Bamber They duly approached the Headmaster of Preston Grammar School, G.C. Tatham, and the idea of a good winter game for the pupils appealed him.
The result of this was that the Grammar School pupils were given instructions in the game under the leadership of Mr Dickson and his friends, making sufficient progress to induce them to challenge Lancaster Royal Grammar School. The game was played at Lancaster 27th February 1869, and the school, assisted by some of its instructors, received a good beating!
Subsequently, such progress was made, that in the return match, Preston lost by only a single goal.
Interest in the game had now been aroused and Mr F.C. Hulton drove the suggestion that a Rugby Football Club should be created.
It is recorded that the first formal meeting took place at the offices of Messer’s George Paley & F. Beesley in Walton’s Parade before the formation meeting at The Bull Hotel.
The name ‘Grasshoppers’ was chosen, as among the founders were several old boys of Cheltenham College. This school had a game ‘Fireflies v. Grasshoppers’ which is believed to continue to this day.
Historians tell us that Football was developed in the Public Schools, then Universities during the early to mid 1800′s. It moved from being unruly ‘Mob’ or ‘Street Football’ into some sort of order but with a variety of regulations. Consequently the schools had their own types of football, played to various rules, shape and sized balls. It wasn’t uncommon for a game between two teams to consist of different rules played in the same match.
One half one set of rules, the second another. Frustrated, undergraduates at Cambridge tried to unify the regulations in the mid-to-late 1840s and those rules would largely be accepted on the morning of 26 October 1863. Representatives from 12 clubs and schools from the London area met to agree a code for the game. One of these, Blackheath, refused to accept the non-inclusion of hacking and walked out but the 11 others agreed to form The Football Association, Soccer. From this point the rugby game went one way with Blackheath and soccer the other.
Presumably Cheltenham College played the version ‘Hoppers adopted in 1869, with the first committee deciding to play rugby but without ‘hacking’. Once the Rugby Football Union was formed in 1871, Grasshoppers’ adopted the official laws of the game, which officially outlawed ‘Hacking’ & ‘Tripping’, although only applying to join the organisation in 1875. The Rugby Union Annual records of the time show that we were members in 1876 until 1886, more of this later. Hacking is best described as where anyone lying in a ruck was fair game, and could be kicked below the knee until retreat was the best option. The sketch below illustrates this most graphically, although it would appear a couple of unfortunate chaps have had their faces mistaken for shins!
Whenever a match was played against Rossall School, the game had to be played by their rules, which was an adaptation of The Eton Field Game. It was played with teams of 11 players, Goalkeepers were used and the result was determined by goals scored by the ball passing underneath the crossbar of 11′ x 8′ goal posts. Games versus Brookhouse, which when played in Blackburn were to the Harrow rules. This was a mixture of Association and Rugger, a very rough game by all accounts.
Once the RFU was formed in 1871 Grasshoppers’ adopted the official rules of the game, although they only applied to join the organisation in 1875. The Rugby Union Annual records of the time show that we were members in 1876 until 1886, more of this later.
Directions From Broadstreet
Directions to Preston RFC
Preston Rugby Football Club
Road names / numbers
M6 'The North West' (followed by Preston) to Jct 32, then
M55 'Preston' to Jct 1. Take slip road and at roundabout take first exit left onto
A6 'Preston' (Garstang Road) heading south, then IMMEDIATELY prepare to turn left, after 100 yards, onto
B6241 (Eastway) initially east, but after 250 yards at the roundabout take the 1st exit left to reverse to a westerly direction. After 450 yards, at the roundabout, continue on B6241 (Eastway) heading west. After ½ mile (now Lightfoot Lane), turn right into
Lighfoot Green Lane
Lightfoot Green Lane heading north west. The ground is on the left after 200 yards.
Preston Grasshoppers RFC
You have arrived at Preston Grasshoppers Rugby Football Club