Leigh Miners Rangers 28 Thatto Heath 26
LEIGH Miners Rangers put their cup exit behind them and made solid inroads into the top six with utterly compelling, agonising game against fellow high-fliers Thatto Heath. Ultimately a missed Shaun Quinn conversion proved the cruel difference between a home win and a share of the spoils but it was one of the great individual performances by Darryl Kay, an eighty-minute front-row effort in the summer heat capped by two tries which in itself deserved the two points.
The tone for a see-saw game was established early on as Heath broke the deadlock, Jonny Youds halting Luke Bradshaw just short but from the attacking position the Crusaders used a set move to send veteran prop Mark Beech ploughing through, Quinn goaling. Miners swiftly responded as Gary Gittens and Tom Parkinson took play to the line and Matty Meaden dived over from acting half, Youds with the extras. Back came Thatto and Chris Frodsham angled a kick to the left corner for Dave Sutton to sneak in and ground the ball, but Miners were again level when Leon Brennan and Tom Farrimond spread the ball right for Youds to step through on the overlap. Right on the whistle and Miners had the lead for the first time, Kay with his first score as he angled his run through the ruck and over the whitewash.
Back though came Thatto and after impressive centre Matty Holding had made good ground down the right the ball was switched left for opposite threequarter Dave Hull to cross the line, Quinn’s goal nudging Heath back ahead. Miners were beginning to dominate though and two tries either side of the hour had them in a commanding position. First Farrimond dummied and darted over the line and then Kay was in again, slipping through the tackles twenty-five metres out and then wrestling past Quinn as he charged over for his second. Youds’ two conversions and a penalty for offside had Miners two scores clear but Thatto were far from finished and awoke memories of their late smash-and-grab at Twist Lane last season as Matty Range but Quinn through a gap near the line to score a six pointer. With four minutes remaining the comeback appeared complete as Hull went over for his second but Quinn uncharacteristically sent the conversion across the face of goal and although Thatto had a chance of a last hurrah a thunderbolt of a tackle by Mick O’Boyle forced the knock on from the dangerous Hull with the very last play of the game.
Miners Alliance team went down to a narrow defeat at Rylands 36-32 whilst the women’s team won at Selby 20-6. This weekend the first team travel to second placed Siddal whilst the Alliance entertain Accrington at Twist Lane (Saturday 2.30pm). On Sunday the under-18s host Blackbrook (1pm) whilst the women travel to Stanningley.