A BIG crowd is expected to gather at Ruskin Drive sportsground this afternoon where Pilkington Recs will face Thatto Heath in rugby league's National Conference Premier Division.

The fixture will be the first league fixture between the first team's two giants of the amateur games since the 1990s, although they have met in cup competitions in the intervening years.

Kick off is 2.30pm on the 4G pitch that is now home to the red, amber and blacks.

Both sides have been eagerly anticipating the fixture since Heath secured their return to the top flight last autumn.

Billy Dillon, the Recs secretary, said: "There's a great rivalry between the two clubs and a lot of respect.

"We're all looking forward to it and depending on the weather we hope to get a few hundred people down to watch.

"It's a great chance to showcase our new home pitch, which will be even better when the new changing rooms are ready."

A minute's applause for former semi-professional player Tony Barrow, who died after battling a brain tumour will take place before kick off.

Tony was from Thatto Heath and a good friend of the club.