Miners’ top six hopes dashed

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Leigh Miners Rangers 24 Lock Lane 56

Miners Rangers went down to a heavy defeat at the hands of title chasing Lock Lane, who blew the home side away with a power-packed performance. After an even first half with Miners trailing by just two points at the interval, the impact of substitutes Steve Scott and Craig Jones turned the game on its head as Lane posted 22 points in 10 minutes to set the platform for this resounding victory. A bleak day for Miners was compounded by Josh Ward, back at the club following his season in Leigh U21s, suffering a heavy fall which necessitated ambulance treatment - thankfully the youngster was found to have escaped serious injury.

Miners started the day paying tribute to club founder-member Harry Westhead, who passed away at the start of the week, and Lane settled the quicker with a try for James Cryer, who climbed highest to gather Nathan Fozzard’s kick and have a free run-in to the line.

But Miners hit back well as they played some good rugby, tough in defence and clinical in attack as young Mark Nicholson bagged his first two tries in senior rugby in rapid succession, on both occasions latching on to Jimmy Muir’s pass before charging through the gap to score. Lane responded with tries for the Siddons brothers Jordan and Chris to nudge back ahead, but Miners were only 14-16 down at the break with Jonny Youds’ penalty.

At this stage the game was in the balance but Lane ran riot in the third quarter with Scott and Jones not just using their size and power but also their pace and offloading skills to great effect as Miners caved in.

Lane scored four tries in this period to take a firm grip on the game, and following the lengthy stoppage for Ward’s injury and treatment, the visitors added a further two tries to power inexorably towards the half century. Miners gave the scoreline a slight tint of respectability as Scott O’Brien and Luke Warburton went over for late tries but Lane had the final word as they emphasised their title credentials and left Miners’ top six hopes all but over.

• The first team travel to Hull Dockers this weekend, their last game before the Conference Cup final on September 29 at LSV.

• The women’s team march on in their league, defeating Brighouse 14-4 in a tense game over the Pennines. Miners started strongly and following some good forward play down the right hand edge of the pitch, the ball was passed through hands allowing Rachael Ogden to score in the left hand corner to give the ladies a 4-0 lead. Brighouse were soon back level when a well placed kick from their stand-off was touched down by the winger. Miners edged back into the lead just before the break, following a period of sustained pressure, Helen Murtagh crossed the line to score her first try for the club to make the half time score 8-4.

The second half was very tight, with Brighouse having the majority of the procession but the Miners defence was once again excellent, preventing the home side from adding to their first half tally. The only score of the second half came in the closing minutes when Rachael Ogden was once again on the end of a sweeping move from right to left. Emily Mullen converted from close to the touchline to give a final score of 14-4. The player of the match went to forward Megan Eastwood who had an outstanding game in both attack and defence.

The women’s side travels to Oulton next week, before completing the league season away at Chorley. A win in either game will secure a place in the end of season play-offs.

• The Miners U18s defeated Oldham St Annes 28-18 on Sunday. Jake Waterworth scored one try and six goals with further tries for Deacon Monks, Matt Wilkinson and Ryan Harrison.