Leigh Miners made it three wins from three in the league on Saturday afternoon when they beat Oulton Raiders 24-10.
On a sunny but blustery day in Yorkshire, Miners made five changes from their last win two weeks ago with Matt Astley, Jimmy Muir, Mark Nicholson, Mike O’Boyle and Haydn Bud Skinkis coming in for Chris Bowers, Harry Gagen, Scott O’Brien, Connor Ratcliffe and Adam Thomason.
The game started scrappy with both sides coming up with errors early on, the home side settling down the quicker and having a good spell of possession on the Miners line. The pressure eventually telling after a few sets when second rower Chris Gourley went over to score, player coach Jamie Benn converting to give Oulton a 6-0 lead after ten minutes. After starting slowly Miners steadily worked their way into the game and drew level on 25 minutes when after some good build up play left centre Brad Hargreaves powered over out wide, Jonny Youds adding the extras to tie the game up at 6-6. With a few minutes of the opening forty remaining Hargreaves powered over again out on the left, Youds converting to give Miners a six point lead going into the break with the score at 12-6.
Miners again started slowly at the start of the second half and were punished 10 minutes in when Adrian Holdsworth scored in the right corner to make it 12-10. The men from Twist Lane again settled themselves after conceding and although they was far from their best they never looked like losing the game as they kicked on in the final quarter to wrap up the two points. Brad Hargreaves again powering over with fifteen minutes remaining to grab his hat-trick. Tommy Parkinson scored a fourth Miners try with a few minutes remaining when he went charging over on the right, Jonny Youds converting to make it 22-10. Youds finishing the scoring soon after the Parkinson try with a penalty goal as Oulton finished the game with twelve men when Danny Stanley was sin binned for punching.
The Alliance team meanwhile enjoyed a comfortable 46-10 win over Bury Broncos.
Attention this weekend switches to the Challenge Cup with Miners making history on Sunday as they take part in the fifth round for the first time ever with York City Knights the visitors to the Sports Village on Sunday, 2pm.
The two sides have met previously, Miners succumbing 52-4 to one of the Minstermen’s previous incarnations, Ryedale York, in 1994.
Two years later and York were on the receiving end of a giantkilling when West Hull toppled them in the fourth round, but having piled fifty on NCL side Featherstone Lions in the last round, and winning by a similar margin to Miners against Oxford in a league game last weekend, James Ford’s exciting young team appear to be putting their off-field concerns behind them. Under the banner ‘Strength in Numbers’ Miners are urging the town to rally behind them as they bid to make further history in what will be a memorable occasion. Tickets are priced at £8 adults and £4 concessions and can be bought from the Sports Village box office, the Miners clubhouse and the Britannia pub.
Also this weekend the Alliance side travel to Widnes Tigers in the cup, the under-18s host Woolston at Twist Lane on Sunday (11.45) and the women’s team travel to Stanningley.