Miners Rangers made the most of their reprieve but this was a hard fought win against a Walney side not accustomed to losing in a tense battle at Twist Lane. Having been handed their Challenge Cup lifeline earlier in the week Miners were made to battle all the way and whilst the final scoreline reflected two Walney tries in the final two minutes, in truth the Islanders were good value for the narrow margin as they pushed their hosts all the way. Hard-bitten centre Chris Larkin, who actually spent the closing stages and that valedictory burst of scoring in the sin bi, and scrum half Jamie Morrow were stand-outs for Cents whilst Miners had Scott O’Brien, Darryl Kay and Haydn Bud Skinkis were the pick for Miners, but this was overall an enjoyable and high quality game.
The visitors drew first blood when Jordan Staffieri crossed out wide and Mark McKinley converted, but Miners were ahead by the break first as O’Brien dummied and dived in at the posts, adding the conversion and then set up Connor Ratcliffe for his first score in Miners’ colours. Right on the whistle Miners had a commanding advantage as a strong Kay surge and offload set up Tommy Parkinson to in turn put Ellis Grimes over for the try.
Walney were back in the game when Larkin blasted in at the corner but Miners had the decisive advantage as Skinkis scored twice, first finishing from slick passing along the line then with his footwork bamboozling the defence to score out wide. Walney though never threw in the towel and two late tries, first from Connor Pearce and then a three-quarter-pitch break by Danny Vial gave them plenty of consolation.
Miners – Jimmy Muir, Harry Gagen, Adam Thomason, Ellis Grimes, Haydn Bud Skinkis, Tony Doyle, Scott O’Brien, Matt Astley, Tom Farrimond, Darryl Kay, Tom Parkinson, Danny Jackson, Dave Rowlands Subs – Connor Ratcliffe, Danny Jones, Brad Hargreaves, Chris Bowers
Tries – O’Brien 24, Ratcliffe 29, Grimes 33, Skinkis 54, 59
Goals – O’Brien 3
MoM – Darryl Kay
Walney – Mike Backhouse, Jake Devereux, Jordan Staffieri, Chris Larkin, Connor Pearce, Brad Nicholls, Jamie Morrow, Dave Warne, Matt Elliott, Mark McKinley, Mike Darby, Matt Holmes, Liam Finch Subs – Ethan Furness, Danny Lockhart, Danny Vial, Carl McBain
Tries – Staffieri 10, Larkin 45, Pearce 78, Vial 80
Goal – McKinley
MoM – Jamie Morrow
Referee – Joe Stearne