Leigh Miners 52 Wath Brow 6
Miners marched into the last four of the Conference Cup and a semi-final tie at Bradford Dudley Hill with this 10-try demolition of high-flying Wath Brow. It was a high-octane performance from an exuberant Miners side who appeared to truly enjoy themselves as they produced some sparkling attacking rugby. The Cumbrians had claimed a share of the league leadership the previous weekend with their 11th win in the last 12, but they arrived at Twist Lane deprived of their three GB youth internationals Karl Dixon, Ian Curnow and Scott Pink. Miners meanwhile welcomed Ross Bradley, Sean Pendlebury, Jimmy Muir, Liam Coleman and Darryl Kay back into the side from the previous weekend’s loss at Siddal although Aaron Gorton, John Woods and Craig Connor were unavailable.
The Hornets started positively and opened the scoring on just four minutes as Jason Connery hoisted a cross-field kick on the last tackle and the ball bounced back for Gregg Dawson to gather and score, Peter Caddy goaling, but in a frantically-paced opening period it didn’t take Miners long to get back into the game. On 10 minutes the home side had responded, Kevin Howells powering through the middle before the ball was worked left for Bradley to slip through the tackles and score out wide. Within three minutes Miners were ahead as Coleman dummied then burst through the gap from halfway with Kay and Scott O’Brien supporting, and although play briefly broke down Miners managed to retain possession and Adam Thomason put Martin Lewis over at the right corner, Jonny Youds goaling. Miners were easing through the gears but the next try was a while in coming, and in between times chances came and went, O’Brien and Kay breaking down the middle but the scrambling defence somehow managing to force the breakdown, then Sean Pendlebury was just tipped into touch by Dawson as he slid for the line. The lead was extended when O’Brien kicked to the right flank and Lewis gathered before passing inside for Danny Jackson to stretch over the whitewash, but still the floodgates just about creaked shut as tries for Youds and Ryan Ravenscroft were ruled out for forward passes. When they did burst open though it was to devastating effect as three tries in the final nine minutes of the half had Miners in full control. First Lewis burrowed through the tackle for his second try, then immediately from the restart Pendlebury returned the kick with interest down the right wing and from the resultant position Thomason broke through for a six-pointer. Right on the whistle came the try of the match, O’Brien again the architect as he chipped the defensive line, regathered, bounced off a tackle and then put Pendlebury over beside the posts, Youds’ conversion making it 30-6 at the interval.
There was nothing to suggest Brow were going to get back into the game in the second half and so it proved, despite the Cumbrians mounting an early spell of pressure which culminated in Dave Rowlands being sin-binned for the third Miners’ high-tackle in the space of a few minutes, but despite being a man light, the Leigh side not only held their line intact, they added two more scores into the bargain. First O’Brien danced away from the tackles and put Youds away for a six-pointer, then as Brow pressed Pendlebury picked the intercept off Jamie Martin’s pass and scorched away from inside his own 20 for the score. In the final quarter Miners added two further tries to bring up the half century, first as Josh Ward dummied the beleaguered defence to score from close range, then some slick passing between Ward and O’Brien saw the latter pop up a reverse pass for Youds to slice through for his second.
The Alliance team enjoyed a tremendous win at Latchford Albion whilst the women made it a club treble as they defeated Chorley 28-20.
Scorers were Andy Newton (two), Steven Grundy, Scott Travis, Todd Appleby, Gareth Pain and Steve Kenny (two) whilst the women’s team scorers in their 28-20 win over Chorley were Elaine Mullen(two), Claire Thompson, Rachel Thompson, Kerry Clayton (two).
• This weekend the action starts on Friday (7.30pm) as the first team host Leigh East in a league fixture before the club holds a tick-and-pass tournament and junior festival on Saturday from 10am (tick-and-pass starting at 12pm), featuring Miners Rangers, Ince Rose Bridge, Latchford and Westhoughton Lions, the open-age tick-and-pass tournament with teams including Miners open-age men’s and women’s teams, Shaw Cup finalists The Centurion and cup-winners The Red Cat and Regency Glass. There will also be a barbeque, DJ and Zorb balls. Admission is £1 per adult, under-16s free.
The U18s host Leigh East on Sunday, 1.30pm.