MINERS Rangers made a welcome return to winning ways although they didn’t have it all their own way against relegation-bound Acorn.
Trailing 18-6 midway through the first half and still two points adrift at the break after an insipid first half the Leigh side turned on the style after the break to leave their opponents chasing shadows and to hit 60 for the second home game in a row. With Ryan Smith, Scott O’Brien, Darryl Kay and Martin Lewis enjoying fine games the home team scored some quality tries and set themselves up for the final four games of the league run-in.
That didn’t appear to be a likely outcome for most of the first half though as Acorn played with plenty of spirit and were much the better side, Jon Liddell steering his side around the park and Tom Hill and Adam Endersby following his lead, Hill with two tries set up by his stand-off and Andy Gargan also crossing the whitewash, Miners’ sole response a strong effort from Adam Thomason as he wrestled over from close range. By the half hour though the superior fitness of the Miners side began to show as Acorn started to run out of steam, tries for O’Brien and a well-worked score from Jimmy Muir giving Miners every encouragement for the second half.
The comeback was completed as the home side clicked through the gears in the second half, Lee Gittens putting the Miners ahead for the first time shortly into the second half before the try which punctured Acorn’s morale, Smith picking up a loose pass inside his own 10 and then with the pace to outstrip the defence on a pitch-length run. From then on it was a procession as the Leigh side ran riot. Tom Bradbury and O’Brien both scored braces and there were further scores for Joe Harrison and a deserved pair for Lewis in the centres.
Meanwhile the NWC side had a tremendous away win at Folly Lane to give their survival hopes a massive boost. A nip and tuck first half saw Miners ahead with tries for Jimmy Davies, Sean Pendlebury and Craig McCulloch, Simon Ord with two goals, but Folly only trailed by two points at the turnaround. The Swinton side levelled the scores early in the second half but three astute field goals from the wily Tony Doyle, and the decisive try from Zak Patterson, secured a bruising 25-18 win. The U18s were unfortunate to lose out to Wigan St Judes.
This weekend Miners have a top four showdown at Siddal whilst the NWC side host league rivals Haydock in the last eight of the NWC Cup. The U18s travel to West Cumbria on Sunday.