Wigan St Jude’s 8 Leigh Miners Rangers 50
Miners booked their place in the last 16 of the National Conference Cup, and a plum tie at Leigh East, with this resounding derby success over Division One St Jude’s.
The Wigan side had toppled Miners in their relegation season in 2011 but the balance was redressed in convincing style.
The result was never in doubt following a whirlwind Miners start which had them 32-0 up at the break as Judes simply couldn’t live with the attacking firepower and punishing defence of the Leigh team.
Given the potential banana-skin nature of the tie Miners would have wished for an early score and that arrived inside three minutes, Danny Jones and Adam Thomason linking up and although the latter was halted just short, from the play the ball Jones took the pass for an easy try through a stretched defence.
Jude’s had a chance when Craig Bithel broke through but with options either side of him the second-row was stopped by a fine tackle by Jonny Youds, and Miners never looked back from this point.
Youds’ kick was spilled by the Judes defence for Jonny Carroll to score from close range, then some slick passing involving Steven Grundy and Shaun Marsh put Lee Gittins over out wide.
A tremendous Youds break down the middle was continued by Marsh and Gittins for Sean Pendlebury to finish at the corner and then Gittins was in for his second.
Right on half-time and Miners had a sixth try as the impressive John Lloyd scattered the defence to crash under the posts for his first try in Miners’ colours.
The procession appeared set to continue three minutes into the second half when Carroll was quickest to a Judes’ fumble inside his own thirty and the big winger stormed clear, handing off the chasing cover to score out wide.
But Jude’s rallied and grabbed two quick tries of their own through the classy Steve King and a fine finish for Gareth Thomas.
Miners though regained focus and finished the game in impressive style.
The outstanding Lee Gittins was the architect of both, breaking through down the left channel and finding support in the shape of first Martin Lewis, and then Lloyd for his second. The Alliance side had a fine win over a physical Chorley Panthers side, 42-12, to maintain their 100% league start.
Scorers: Tries: Scott Travis (3), Danny Trimble, Gary Dunn, Todd Appleby, Lewis Sproston, Jonathan Ogden. Goals: Todd Appleby (6). MoM: Appleby
l This weekend the first team entertain West Hull, who arrive at Twist Lane on a seven match winning streak, Saturday 19th 2.30pm. The Alliance travel to Bold Miners while on Sunday the women’s team travel to Widnes Vikings and the Under-18s target their first win of the season at North Wales.