Leigh Miners Rangers 14 Wath Brow Hornets 25
Wath Brow threw down their gauntlet for top spot with this commanding victory over fellow play-off rivals Miners, a stirring first half effort when they led 20-4 giving the platform for them to hold of the intermittent threat of a home side comeback in the second half.
With the reinvented stand-off Franny King influential, Karl Dixon making a welcome return at centre and a tremendous pack effort with Mark Watson, Richard Huby and Charlie Tomlinson outstanding the Hornets were great value for their win. Miners were cowed in the first half but showed enough of a threat in the second to claw their way within seven points, but they were ultimately second best despite the efforts of Matty Meaden, the tireless Tom Parkinson and Darryl Kay.
Brow opened with ominous intent, exerting pressure in Miners’ half and capitalising when Watson reefed the ball one-on-one to saunter in from 10 metres out, King adding the goal and a penalty after a late Miners’ challenge on the tryscorer.
The home side responded when Scott O’Brien put Adam Thomason over at the corner but Brow were in control by the break, first when Gregg Howland stepped inside the tackle to score and six-pointer, then when Jamie Devine saw his kick charged down, regathered and then stormed clear to score under the posts. Miners needed the first try of the second half and it duly arrived when Thomason scored his second, but it appeared hard work to chisel the points out and Brow nudged further ahead when King landed a drop goal.
Miners hinted at a grandstand finish when O’Brien and Youds combined, the former with the angled kick for Youds to score under the posts, but Brow ensured the win when King chipped and regathered to put Dixon over for the try.
The Alliance team missed out in their promotion decider as Latchford Albion won 28-12 to seize second spot in the final game of the season. Miners’ tries came from Martin Lewis, Tom Warburton and Shaun Marsh, with Matthew Rozman named man of the match.
This Saturday, the first team are at home to Wigan St Jude’s whilst the Alliance travel to Latchford once again, this time in the end-of-season play-off tournament. Both games kick off 2.30pm