Leigh Miners return to action on Saturday when they entertain Kells in Round 6 of the NCL Kingstone Press Cider Premier Division, Kick off 2-30pm at Twist Lane.
Miners where without a game last weekend due to Lock Lane’s involvement in the fifth round of the Challenge Cup, the week off giving the players the chance to rest up and recover from any early season knocks ahead of some important matches over the coming weeks.
The 24-6 win at Hull Dockers two weeks ago being the fourth league win in a row for Miners, with youngster Jamie King, Lee Gittins, Jimmy Muir and Tommy Parkinson scoring the tries. Full back Jonny Youds on his return to the side from injury landing four goals in what was again a performance that defence was key to victory rather than the attack.
Training as been tough and intense this week in the build up for Saturday with the players working hard and getting stuck in to what’s been asked of them. It’s a game the club is looking forward to and the lads are determined to put in a strong performance to keep their winning start to the season going.
Speaking about the win at Hull Dockers two weeks ago, slimline centre Brad Hargreaves said “I came away from the Dockers game with mixed emotions, our performance, particularly in attack was below par again.”
“Our completion rate was really poor! I don’t think we could have dropped more ball in the first half if we tried!”
“On the other hand, we picked up a fourth consecutive win and won somewhere where the club hasn’t won for a number of years, which is obviously a great feeling.”
“The most pleasing thing about the result is that we managed to take the two points, despite performing quite a way from our potential.”
“At this stage last season, we weren’t doing that so hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.”
Looking ahead to this week’s visit of Kells, Hargreaves added “Our ball control will need to be significantly better this week against Kells.”
“They’re coming off the back of a good result away at Wath Brow and a big win against Pilks last weekend, so their confidence will be high.”
“If we only complete at 50% we’ll be in for a tough afternoon!”
“It’s important we stay in the arm wrestle and take our chances when they come along.”
“We’ve bombed tries in the last two weeks against York and Dockers and that’s not something we can afford to do this week.”
“I’m looking forward to getting back on the field after a stop start season so far due to Easter and other teams commitments in the Challenge Cup.”
Coach Allan Coleman will have a virtually fully fit squad to chose from with only Mike O’Boyle (work) and Connor Partington (injured) unavailable for selection. Other than that there are twenty odd lads chomping at the bit to play, leaving Coleman with a tough but good selection headache.
On the win in Hull a fortnight ago, coach Allan Coleman said “It was a good feeling beating Dockers as it was something we haven’t done for a few years at their place.”
“We started very well getting into good areas early in the tackle count but yet again we was very low on completion at just over 50%”
“We have to improve on that this week or we will be in trouble.”
“Defence again was very good and at the moment are mentality is they don’t score at all when in the past it’s been we will score more than them.”
That’s why we’re winning without completing high.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s visit of Kells, Coleman added “Saturday is a game I have been waiting a few years for, I have some good friends involved with the Kells club and it will be great to welcome them to Twist Lane.”
“It’s going to be are toughest test so far They are the bookies favourite’s to win the comp.”
“But I think we have a massive performance due soon and let’s hope it’s Saturday.”
“I think it will be a fast open game, one not to be missed”
“Apart from Mike O’Boyle and Connor Partington we have a full squad to choose from which will be a nice headache for me and the staff.”
Kells have worked their way through the Divisions over the last three years since joining the NCL, winning the title each year in Divisions three, two and one to earn their place in the top flight.
The West Cumbrian outfit started the year with a good cup run in the Challenge Cup beating Nottingham Outlaws and Underbank Rangers in the early rounds, before beating League One side Hemel Stags 12-6 in recent round three. The cup run come to an end in round four against Championship side Oldham, Kells putting up a good fight with the game being much closer than the 40-6 scoreline suggests.
In the league Kells started the season with a (20-10) opening day home defeat to Siddal but have since gone onto to win (18-8) at home against Wigan St Pats, draw (14-14) away at local rivals Wath Brow Hornets and last weekend having a big (42-6) home win at Pilkington Recs. Peter Smiths men will no doubt be coming to Twist Lane full of confidence, looking to end Miners winning start to the season.
Leigh Miners second team have free weekends for the next couple of weeks, with their next game being on the Saturday 7th May against local rivals Leigh East.
The u18s are at home on Sunday against Saddleworth Rangers in the league, kick off 11-45am at Twist Lane.
Leigh Mines Ladies are away on Sunday against Featherstone Rovers in the league.