Miners Rangers went down to a disappointing defeat at Tower Grange at the weekend as old stagers Chris Stephenson and Jon Eccles proved the inspiration for Dockers to secure a commanding victory. The two Dockers’ stalwarts have been round the block many a time over the last decade and a bit and once again they were the guiding lights for their team. Miners by contrast were largely lethargic barring a ten minute cameo before half time – when they registered all their points – and a spirited display by back rows Mark Nicholson and Danny Jackson.
The first twenty minutes were as poor a period as Miners can have produced for many a year, trailing 16-0 as Dockers posted three tries through Richard Lamplugh, Chris Lyth and Paul Fletcher. However the game was seemingly turned on its head with two tries in as many minutes for the visitors, some classy rugby putting them right back in the game. First some quick thinking by Jonny Youds put Jack Probert away from his own forty metres, the winger beating his opposite number for pace and then cutting inside the fullback for a try goaled by Youds. Straight from the restart a good drive by Matt Astley set the position for Scott O’Brien to find Jackson running the angles superbly on half way, blasting through the defensive line and with men in support finding Youds to finish well from twenty-five metres out.
It was game on and Miners started the second half brightly but an injury stoppage as Dockers’ Paul Jarvis sustained a nasty facial knock saw the momentum shift again and the home side rallied. Stephenson backed up an Eccles break to finish off and then the veteran stand-off drove over from close range for his second to seal the game. The icing on the cake came late on as Danny Ulyatt marked his return from a long injury lay-off by finishing off for his side’s sixth try.