LEIGH Miners Rangers have thanked the rugby league community for helping them raise £3,000 so they could stage their Challenge Cup tie against Oxford in the town.
Last week, the RFL upheld Oxford’s reservations about playing the game at Twist Lane and an alternative venue had to be found at short notice.
Rather than move the tie to Oxford, Miners opted to stay in Leigh but the rental of the Sports Village pitch - around £3,000 - was prohibitive.
So after a meeting with Leigh Centurions, the Miners decided to start The 100 Club, inviting people to pay £25 to get a mention on the club’s social media channels and in the matchday programme.
The idea took off and money started rolling in. Donations of £25 right up to £1,000 from Leigh Centurions’ head of rugby Derek Beaumont.
Former Leigh players Tommy Martyn and Bobbie Goulding championed the Miners’ cause on Twitter and Super League Champions St Helens and Championship one side North Wales Crusaders donated prizes for auction. Some companies offered raffle prizes and the appeal really took off.
“The response has been just incredible,” said Lee Walls of Leigh Miners Rangers. “We have received pledges of support from India, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur.
“The rugby community and the town have been absolutely outstanding. The club reached its target in pledges within three days, it really was unbelievable.
“There are unfortunately too many people to thank but we must mention Derek Beaumont, Mike Latham and all at Leigh Centurions.
“Also Leigh Sports Village for their first class support and service, Andy Mazey who does so much for community rugby, Taylor Drilling and also the family of an ex player Peter McGuiness.
“A massive thank you to our MP Andy Burnham whose support for the Miners knows no bounds and of course the Academy section of Leigh Miners Rangers who have been outstanding with their support.”
Miners take on Oxford this Saturday at Leigh Sports Village, kick off 2.30pm.