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Leigh Miners Rangers 28 Wigan St Judes 12

Sep 17 • Archived Match Reports, Senior Club News • 1352 Views • No Comments on Leigh Miners Rangers 28 Wigan St Judes 12

Leigh Miners Rangers recorded a welcome victory with a solid performance against Wigan St Judes as a brace of tries apiece for halfbacks Leon Brennan and Ryan Smith were the highlight of this Friday night victory. With both sides fielding much-changed line-ups, Judes recalled experienced campaigners Shaun Spowart and Peter Cain for their first games of the season whilst Miners had three players on debut, under-18s stars Ryan Monaghan and Liam Ratcliffe, and former Rochdale man Adam Thomas coming in after signing during the week. A heavy tea-time downpour had left the Twist Lane pitch in slick condition and Miners opened brightly only to see chances go begging through a variety of bizarre plays, first as Smith broke clear down the middle and the scoring pass to Aaron Gorton was just out of the hooker’s reach, then as Smith and Adam Thomason unlocked the right side of the Judes’ defence only for the scoring pass inside to deflect to safety off the unfortunately-positioned referee Richard Griffiths. When the breakthrough did come it was via the direct route, Brennan dummying and then powering through the tackle beside the posts for a try goaled by Tom Bradbury. However Judes hit back in curious circumstances, Kieran Dainty with a fine game at fullback but as he fielded a seemingly-innocuous kick near his own line the ball popped from his grasp and gave Nathan Jones a walk-in try, Daryl King goaling.

Miners appeared to be frustrated after dominating the play to find themselves on level terms, but they ensured the half-time lead when Smith showed his quality, dummying to create the gap and then strolling over for a six-pointer.

Judes opened the second half strongly, big prop Nathan Moore a handful and willing runners in Alex Pilling and Craig Bithel, but Miners held firm with the defence denying Caine Thompson a try at the corner. It was a tight third quarter but Miners set the ball rolling as quick hands left saw Bradbury crash over to extend the advantage to two scores, and the game was sealed as another spell of pressure ended with Brennan cutting through at pace to score a six-pointer. The best try was Miners’ last, substitute Steve Kenny with the break from half way and support from Smith and Thomason before Smith completed the break with the score under the sticks. Judes had shown resolve though and were rewarded with the final score of the game, Danny Mason demonstrating the value of playing to the whistle as most eyes were on the developing skirmish in back play (which led to the dismissals of Mark Whittaker and Martin Lewis) and dived over the line, Spowart goaling.

Photos from the game can be found here http://www.marctaylor.eu/leigh-miners-v-wigan-st-judes-16th-september-2011/

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