Leigh Miners Rangers 32 West Hull 28
Miners Rangers produced a dramatic finale to snatch victory and to equal their best-ever Challenge Cup showing as they reached the fourth round with this win over NCL champions West Hull.
Having led 28-10 at the interval Miners appeared to be cruising into the fourth round following a tremendous first half performance but they were forced thoroughly onto the back foot by a resurgent Wests in the second period as the Humbersiders drew level with five minutes remaining and surely had the momentum to complete their comeback with a winning score. But on the very last play Haydn Bud Skinkis, injured but forced to remain on the field as Miners had used all their allotted substitutes, popped up on the wing to score the winner.
Such drama appeared unlikely at half time as Miners had produced an almost complete performance, setting themselves on their way with the opening score inside the first minute as Adam Thomason broke from half way and put Jonny Youds in for a six pointer, before further tries followed at regular intervals, Miners exposing the right side of the Hull defence with tries for Skinkis, Darryl Kay and Brad Hargreaves. Wests served notice of their threat as two tries in as many minutes around the half hour had them edging back into the game, Chris Whinn and Callum King with the scores, but right on the interval whistle Miners were in full control as Scott O’Brien’s kick was touched down beside the posts by Tony Doyle.
The comfortable second half failed to materialise though, and after Brett Turner narrowed the deficit two tries after the hour mark had the game in the balance as Ben Arbon intercepted a loose pass and sprinted clear before Dillon Price scored out wide from a kick to the corner. With five minutes on the clock Wests worked the ball right and Whinn was in for his second, thankfully the attempt at a conversion winner falling short. With extra time seemingly looming Miners summoned up one last effort to force a handover deep inside Wests’ territory and from that attacking position the ball was moved left for Skinkis to dive in for the winner.
Miners now await Tuesday evening’s fourth round draw, with the ties to be played weekend of March 21. Before then the first team start their league campaign with a home derby against a new-look Wigan St Patricks side, 2.30pm on Saturday 14 at Twist Lane.
On Sunday 15 the women’s team are hosting a girls rugby taster session at Kings Park, Leigh Road (Atherleigh, near the old Leigh CE Secondary School site) from 10-11am for all girls aged 11-16, no previous rugby experience necessary. All are invited to come down to learn more about girls’ rugby and to shake off the Sunday morning cobwebs.