Miners Rangers overcame a stubborn Egremont side and some atrocious weather conditions to return to winning ways with this victory. With three under-18s in the team for the second weekend in a row – and again impressing hugely – Miners had to battle from 12-0 down to secure the win with a commanding second half display against an Egremont team whose spirit belied their league struggles thus far in 2016. The game opened in torrential and persistent rain, with the playing surface rapidly gathering standing water and putting the completion of the match in some doubt, but thankfully the elements eased after half time to allow Miners to mount a comeback and secure the two points.
It was Mont who played the better rugby in the first half, forcing the errors from Miners and although both sides inevitably struggled to keep the ball in hand the Cumbrians made better use of their possession, opening the scoring on seven minutes when Matty Henson dived over from acting half and the outstanding Matt Bewsher converted for 6-0. Miners struggled to make headway and Egremont were growing in confidence and midway through the half they extended their lead when Miners spilled the ball clearing their line and from ten metres out Lee Rogers scooped the ball up and was over at the corner flag, Matt Bewsher again booting over the conversion. Miners had struggled to make an impression but two tries in ten minutes before half time had them right back in the game. First Dave Rowlands drove to the line and then from the next play Ian Mort showed nimble footwork to step inside the defence and score out wide, then with three minutes to the break Scott O’Brien flighted a kick out wide to the left wing where young Will Ashworth plucked the ball from the air and cut inside to score his first open age try, Jonny Youds converting.
Miners emerged in a change of shirts for the second half and new colours brought new fortunes as within eight minutes the hosts were ahead for the first time, Joe Harrison capping a fine performance as he went in from acting half to put his team 14-12 ahead. Miners were beginning to dominate as Egremont began to fade and just before the hour mark they seized control of the game as Danny Halliwell dabbed a clever kick into the right corner and Ashworth was first to the ball to touch it down. Egremont continued to battle hard but Miners were enjoying most of the possession and territory and with eight minutes remaining sealed the match as Jimmy Muir darted through the middle and found Chris Bower striding up in support to score the final try. Youds converting. Egremont almost had the last word as James McDonald was held over the line, his vehement protestations indicating his conviction that he had touched down but merely earning him a visit to the sin-bin with two minutes remaining as Miners held firm for the win.
Miners Rangers – Ian Mort, Will Ashworth, Jonny Youds, Danny Halliwell, Todd Fenlon, Ryan Peters, Scott O’Brien, Matt Astley, Jimmy Muir, Chris Bower, Mick O’Boyle, Connor Ratcliffe, Tom Farrimond Subs – Joe Harrison, Lee Wingfield, Dave Rowlands, Joe Digby
Tries – Mort (32), Ashworth (37, 58), Harrison (48), Bower (72)
Goals – Youds 2
MoM – Scott O’Brien
Egremont – Rhys Davies, Matt McEwan, James Newton, Jack Stainton, Lee Rogers, James McDonald, Joe Bold, Tom Horner, Matty Henson, Matt Bewsher, Peter Bewsher, Kieran Glenn, Pat Wells Subs – Quinn Wright, Cameron Moore, Aaron McGlennon, Kevin Brown
Tries – Henson (7), Rogers (25)
Goals – M Bewsher 2
Sin-Bin – McDonald (78, dissent)
MoM – Kieran Glenn
Referee – Steve Race