Leigh Miners play their first game of 2014 on Saturday when they take on Premier Division new boys Hunslet Warriors in the first round of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup, Kick off 2-30pm at Twist Lane.
It has been a tough but enjoyable five weeks training for the lads in preparation for their first game of the year with the forwards going to Phil Marsden’s Warrior Strength Training gym on Tuesdays to work on their strength and conditioning and the backs going to Culcheth High School to work on their speed and agility. On Thursdays all the players from the first second and u18s have all trained together at Culcheth working on their skills and conditioning before splitting up into individual teams to work on stuff for the coming year. There have also been three tough conditioning Saturday morning sessions at the Green Hill, Borsdane Woods in Hindley and Ainsdale Beach near Southport.
Coaches Allan Coleman & Paul Whitworth will have plenty of players to choose from for this opening fixture with a host of new players joining in pre season, Kieran Eccleston (stand off) and Mathew Meaden (hooker) joining from Ince Rose Bridge, Miners junior Ellis Grimes (centre) returning to the club after a spell with Wigan Warriors, Matty Campbell (utility forward) from Leigh Centurions u23s and props Matt Astley, Adam Bibey, Tom Brindle and Steve Ormesher along with overseas recruit Shaun Dowie (South Sydney Rabbitohs U20’s). Miners also have Martin Lewis, Shaun Marsh and Lee Wingfield back training having returned after missing most if not all of last season through injury. Aaron Gorton and Adam Teece have also returned after time away from the game. Liam Coleman and Jimmy Muir are the only players from last years squad not playing with both taking time out due to family commitments but it is hoped they will be back playing at some point this year.
Hunslet Warriors go into the new season with a new coach after long serving coach Simon Peach stepped down after gaining promotion to the Premier Division, Peach being replaced by Martin Rowse who has done an excellent job at Lock Lane over the last few years. Warriors have made some big signings in the off season with NCL Premier Division player of the year Danny Rowse following his dad Martin from Lock Lane and Nathan Kitson signing from Bradford Dudley Hill to add more quality to an already impressive side that has internationals Gary McClelland Caldon Bravo and prolific try scorer Mark Cunningham within their ranks.
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