Miners Rangers had the perfect Cup Final fillip with only their second win at West Hull in 20 years.
A week after battling to victory against a side fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table, Miners had to show the same qualities against a Wests side eyeing the Minor Premiership and at one of their least happy hunting grounds in the NCL.
On the quarter hour mark came the opening score as Wests opted to run the ball on the last tackle stand-off Ian Kerman spreading play wide and Ryan Morrow fending off the tackle and crashing over the line. Within five minutes the visitors were level as Liam Coleman and Jonny Youds combined to create the chance for Ross Bradley and with an overlap, the centre instead backed himself to score and was vindicated as he forced his way through the tackle to score for 4-4.
Miners had enjoyed the better of the game to this point and two tries in the next eight minutes had them with a commanding advantage. First Youds placed a bouncing kick to the right wing and as the ball sprang up high it was fumbled by winger Jack Ridsdill for Lewis to smartly nip in and score at the corner, Youds with the excellent conversion.
The visitors were 10 points clear when Coleman burst through from 20 yards out and had Lee Gittins in support to power over the line and 14-4.
Just four minutes before the break and the game was alive again, Wests exerting pressure on the back of penalties and as the Miners defence battled hard they were undone with a converted try from Danny Bloom.
Wests had a man sin-binned six minutes into the second period but the home side almost scored through Tom Radley.
With that reprieve Miners launched an attack that proved decisive, Scott O’Brien with a kick to the right flank and as Ridsdill dawdled Carroll beat him to the ball and kicked back infield for Gittins to gather and although he was held short by Danny Swales the line was wide open and Carroll went from acting half to plant the ball down at the corner.
Wests ensured it would be a tense final 13 minutes with a classy solo try from substitute Matt Plummer.
Hewitt goaled to narrow the gap to two points. Both sides had chances, with the best falling to Miners as O’Brien chipped over the top and regathered and then flighted a kick to the left wing that just evaded Sean Pendlebury with the line open, but the Leigh side saw time out to register a famous victory.
l The Alliance side maintained their promotion push with a resounding success over Oldham St Annes 66-22 to open a six point gap over third placed Latchford. The women’s team saw their season end with a positive performance in the play-offs against Guiseley, the Leeds side edging home 30-18.
l This Saturday the Alliance travel to Leyland and on Sunday the first team are in the inaugural Conference Challenge Cup final against Division One title hopefuls Egremont Rangers.
The game at Warrington Wolves’ Halliwell Jones Stadium kicks off at 11.30am.
l Leigh Miners Ladies travelled away to Yorkshire last weekend for their first game of the play-offs against Bradford side Guiseley but suffered a 34-14 defeat.
l After three weeks without a game East travelled across the borough on Saturday to play title contenders Wigan St Pat’s in a must win game for both teams as East look to escape the threat of relegation. East struck first through Sam Grainey, Selmes adding the conversion. Pat’s struck back with three converted tries to take an 18-6 lead before Ryan O’Toole crashed over just short of half time, Tom Worthington converting to take the teams into the break with East trailing 18-12. Within a minute of the restart Pats scored another converted try.
Gavin Hunter scored out wide on 46 minutes, followed by Adam Holland ripping the ball in a one-on-one tackle, 10 from the Pats line to cross, Worthington adding the second conversion to make it Pats 24 East 22.
With 15 minutes remaining Kilshaw was sent from the field after a high tackle on Dec McLoughlin.
Kris Ratcliffe crashed over and Dean Hatton’s conversion took the score to 30-22. Pats had a player sin-binned with seven minutes and Adrian Dootson scored and Worthington’s conversion made it 30-28 but time ran out.