WE might barely have entered the new year but competitive rugby in 2015 returns for one of Miners Rangers’ senior sides this weekend as the under-18s embark on their National Cup campaign with an away tie against league rivals Orrell St James.
The Saints finished towards the top end of the Premier Division last term and will be a tough test for a very new-look youth team as coaches Mick Blakeley and Darryl Appleby will hand under-18s debuts to a host of players progressing from last year’s under-16s. The game is on Sunday, January 11.
Meanwhile the league fixtures for the first team were confirmed before Christmas, and the 2015 National Conference League Premier Division kicks off with a home derby tie against old rivals Wigan St Patrick’s on Saturday March 14. The first away game is a week later at the home of defending league champions West Hull.
March is rounded out with a home game against newly-promoted Rochdale Mayfield. With the division reduced to 12 teams this season, the battle to make the top six and to avoid the bottom three relegation zone will be intense.
Prior to the league kick-off Miners will be involved in Challenge Cup action and the draw for the first round, which takes place on January 31, will take place on Thursday at Wembley Stadium.