West Hull 10 Leigh Miners Rangers 28
Miners Rangers turned in a performance to rank amongst their all-time best with this resounding win over defending champions West Hull.
Unbeaten at home in 2014, Wests have marked themselves down as red-hot title favourites this season but they were dismantled in clinical fashion by a tremendous Miners’ effort, which capped a fine weekend for the club as the Alliance team lifted the North West Men’s League Trophy and the women’s team were also victorious.
In humid conditions on Humberside Miners knew this would be a stern test against the strongest side in the league, but having held firm in the early stages to thwart a breakaway move by Wests’ Callum Windley the visitors drew first blood, Jonny Youds and Jimmy Muir working the ball right for Danny Jackson to break the tackle and crash over the line, Youds goaling.
The lead was extended when Wests’ winger Josh Hartley fatally misjudged Muir’s bomb, allowing the ball to bounce for Shaun Dowie to nip round and score at the corner. However the home side regained their composure and were right back in the game at half time as Dan Parker finished off out wide, Ian Kerman adding the conversion for 10-6.
Ten minutes into the second half and the home side were on terms, Sam Cator first to Kerman’s delicate kick into the in-goal, but Miners redoubled their efforts, Darryl Kay and Tom Parkinson leading a staunch forward effort, and it was Parkinson’s charge up the middle and offload for Youds to finish off from 40 metres out which swung the balance back the way of the visitors.
Miners had the comfort of a two score cushion when Kerman spilled a pass on half way then kicked the ball away in frustration, only for Tom Farrimond to pounce and combine inventively with Leon Brennan on the free play taking Miners to the Wests’ line, where Matty Meaden darted over from acting half.
In the closing minutes Miners had their fifth try as they forced another West Hull error near their line, Parkinson capitalising as he powered over from close range to seal the victory.
The Alliance team faced Rochdale Mayfield in the Trophy final at Golborne, and after an even first forty minutes they cut loose after the interval to record a 39-16 win. Tries came from Ian Jolley (2), Tony Doyle (2), Scott Travis, Gareth Pain and Matthew Rozman. Sam Shepherd added four goals and in his curtain call Kevin Howells also landed a valedictory conversion.
Garry Fitzmartin contributed the one-pointer and was named Man of the Match.
The women’s team enjoyed a fine home win over Oulton Raidettes.
This Saturday the first team entertain Wigan St Patricks in the Conference Cup quarter final, 2.30pm at Twist Lane in a rematch of last season’s final.