Leigh Miners Rangers A Team failed to keep their seasons 100% record in tact by losing away to Rochdale Mayfield in their final game. The loss was not enough to unseat them from top position as they have over 250 points advantage in points difference.
For Leigh Miners Rangers Alliance final game of the season, it was a top of the table title clash with a visit to Rochdale Mayfield. The Rochdale side had tested them earlier in the season but Leigh Miners remained unbeaten.
High anticipation and expectation by the Rochdale outfit was there to see with the support of over 200 in the stands and all that was needed was an entertaining spectacle to warrant the occasion, and both sides did not disappoint. The re-shuffled side arrived under strength with 6 of their regular team unable to make the trip and this seemed to affect the team from the outset.
Mayfield started like a house on fire and this coupled with some soft defending, Miners found themselves behind when on 4 minutes a Mayfield forward fell over the line which was converted by Rochdale’s Marsland.
Miners continuously put themselves under pressure with unnecessary off-loads, poor handling and ill-discipline which lead to converted penalties by Rochdale on 8 and 21 minutes. In some instances it was a case of trying too hard as the mistakes kept on coming. Three to four try scoring opportunities went begging as Miners couldn’t control the ball with the line begging.
Half-time 10-0 to Rochdale.
The second half brought much of the same as the first half with Mayfield starting strongly. Rochdale intercepted a wide move by Leigh on the half way line and raced to score under the sticks with Marsland converting. On
46 minutes, Mayfield got a lucky bounce and found themselve’s over the line again. Miners now losing 22-0, you would think thing couldn’t get worse, but the Alliance team captain Dave Rowlands was dismissed for a high tackle and they had to play the remaining 30 minutes down to 12 men.
Then Miners seemed to find their feet and three tries in quick succession on 55, 60 and 65 minutes by Kay, Travis and Brennon the score looking better at 22-16 it was all to play for.
Once again the referee continually penalised the Leigh side once pinned in their own half, Mayfield decided to take advantage and slotted over another penalty. 24-16.
This wasn’t to be the end of the story as Leigh Miners scored right on the final whistle, missing the conversion. Although Leigh still topped the League table with their 9 from 10 wins and superior points difference it was still disappointing to lose their 100% record. Losing key players and the two late withdrawals had cost them dearly.
Final Score 24-20.
Coach Paul Whitworth, said: “It was hard with so many changes and players having to perform in positions alien to them. But the majority of players have worked hard all year, it was unfortunate to be let down by so many in the last game, but we should congratulate the ones who have put the effort in and have deserved their reward as League Leaders,.”
He added: “We could have taken the easy route and turned up with most of our first team players, but we felt it important to stay with the lads who had turned out throughout the alliance competition. The fact we gave three debuts today, two of whom are only 16 and played four under 18 players, showed up well for the clubs development.”