Wigan St Patricks ended Leigh Miners Rangers’ unbeaten home record and two year cup defence in utterly emphatic style with this crushing victory at Twist Lane. Languishing in the lower reaches of the league, Pats turned the form book on its head with this almost error-free performance as they proved equally at home in rain and shine. In the first half with the heavens opening the Wigan side ensured they played the game in the Miners’ half, forcing the inevitable handling errors from the home side and capitalising to score, whilst with the sun on their backs in the second half they opened up with Smith & Smith – Brad and Ryan – orchestrating play to rattle up the points. Miners, with Craig Ashall debuting after joining from Crusaders, had an afternoon to forget from start to finish.
Pats were patient in the early stages, Brad Smith with two penalties the only score in the opening quarter, before they breached the try-line when Phil Glover pounced on a Miners’ knock-on on half way and kicking through to touch down. The visitors extended the lead further when Brad Smith slipped through three tackles from fifteen metres out to score under the posts. Miners had barely been in the game but had a lifeline at half time as Pats spilled the ball under their own sticks, Shaun Dowie swooping in to score a try converted by Jonny Youds.
Miners needed the early try after half time if they were to turn the game around but instead it was Earl Hurst, a real handful down the left, who broke through from half way to score and effectively seal Pats’ passage. Sean MacDonald responded for Miners after Tony Doyle’s kick was fielded by Tom Farrimond to put the winger over at the corner but Pats simply stepped up through the gears. Ryan Smith showed his class as he ghosted through from forty metres out and three more tries in the final ten minutes embellished the scoreline. Brad Smith drove over from acting half for his second, Ricky Murphy pounced on Ryan Smith’s kick to touch down, and Liam Gannon powered over at the corner right on the whistle to seal a comprehensive win.