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Leigh Miners Rangers 12 Methley Royals 19

Feb 10 • Senior Club News, Uncategorised • 1966 Views • No Comments on Leigh Miners Rangers 12 Methley Royals 19

Jimmy Muir grapples with Adam Biscomb


Miners Rangers’ first fixture of 2013 saw them exit the ACE Insurance BARLA National Cup against a spirited Methley Royals. With the Twist Lane pitch unavailable the fixture was switched to Sutton Park and in damp and cold conditions with both sides cheered on by a well-entertained crowd this was something of a return to winter rugby for the Miners’ side, who were largely drawn from last term’s Alliance squad bolstered by experienced campaigners Kevin Howells and Tom Farrimond and the club’s leading try-scorer of 2012 Sean Pendlebury. Methley, hailing from the third tier of the Pennine League, arrived in mid-season form as they currently sit top of their division and with former National Cup finalists Steve Scott and Andy Speake in their ranks, plus the evergreen ex-Castleford and GB prop Dean Sampson – at the age of 45 having a tilt at Jeff Grayshon’s record – they had no shortage of quality and experience to more than promise an upset.

The early stages of the match proved tense and tight as Miners made a promising opening with Scott Travis and Steven Marsh both trying to find a way through but Methley holding firm and the big Yorkshire pack began to warm to their task with the Herculean figure of Scott particularly prominent. The big back-row almost opened the scoring as he was hauled down just short, before hooker Reece Willshaw was held up as he dived in from acting half, but the first try came soon after and in spectacular circumstances, 16 year old fullback Dave Williams comfortably defusing a Marsh bomb behind his own line then racing to take the 20 metre tap and sprinting through the ragged defence and going clear to score under the posts, Sam Payne goaling. Stung into action Miners responded and substitute Jimmy Muir created the space down the right channel for Andrew Hodson to power through for the try and 6-4. However five minutes before the break and Methley had a firm hold on the game as ex-Oulton man Alan White prodded a kick through to the left corner and in the scramble of bodies Stuart Biscomb emerged with the decisive touch to score, Payne adding the extras from the touchline for 12-4 at the interval.

Miners needed to find a way back into proceedings early in the second half and they were right back in the match when Muir hoisted a kick to the left wing and Pendlebury won the race to gather the ball and score out wide. For the first time in the game the Leigh side appeared to be gaining the upper hand, and with Methley beginning to lose bodies as Lee Starbuck and the influential Scott both limped from the fray, the tide seemed to be turning. But just as Miners were beginning to sense the game was within their grasp the Royals struck a crucial blow, breaking from a scrum inside the Miners’ half and Josh Dixon showing pace and strength to storm down the right wing and cut inside for the try, Payne adding the conversion. Now Methley well and truly sensed the upset and Scott returned with renewed vigour to the fray, embarking on one barnstorming charge up the pitch to further hearten his team-mates.  Miners needed scores – and quickly – as the game was ticking away but they were finding the Yorkshire side a tough nut to crack. With seven minutes to go Pendlebury grabbed his second after Muir and Martin Gray opened up the defence and with Todd Appleby heroic on his return to the field following a first half facial injury and sporting an Andy Farrell-esque bandage the game still hung in the balance. But the wily Speake landed a field goal in stoppage time to underline Methley’s victory and a second round return to Manchester Road to face Hilton Park.

Miners – Steven Grundy, Sean Pendlebury, Martin Gray, Andrew Hodson, Gareth Pain, Scott Travis, Steven Marsh, Kevin Howells, Tom Farrimond, Craig Connor, Chris Slater, Danny Trimble, Todd Appleby Subs – Jimmy Muir, Danny Galvin, Chris Barlow, Andy Newton

Tries – Hodson (29), Pendlebury (48, 73)

MoM – Todd Appleby

Methley – David Williams, Kris Ward, Alan White, Sam Payne, Josh Dixon, Matty Handforth, Andy Speake, Adam Biscomb, Reece Willshaw, Dean Sampson, Steve Scott, Stuart Biscomb, Lee Starbuck Subs – John Hughes, Dave Gordon, Johnny Heaps, JP Briers

Tries – Williams (23), S Biscomb (35), Dixon (54)

Goals – Payne 3

Field Goal – Speake

MoM – Steve Scott

Referee – Mike Woodhead

Jimmy Muir steps out of the tackle

Andrew Hodson breaks through for his try

Photos thanks to Alan Ball – www.thephotographyman.co.uk / www.facebook.com/thephotographyman


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