Miners Rangers picked up a welcome first win of 2012 with this hard-fought success against local rivals Rose Bridge in front of a large Friday night crowd at Twist Lane. It was a win built on the back of a sterling defensive effort, typified by two second-half try-saving tackles from fullback Sean Pendlebury, as the visitors – fresh from their opening day hammering of Saddleworth – enjoyed long spells of possession and territory but without scoring the points to underline that dominance. They were made to pay for their profligacy as Miners finished in rousing fashion, sneaking their noses in front with fifteen minutes remaining and then rampant in the final quarter as they swept in for four tries.
For long spells this was a scrappy game as both sides made handling errors, but it was gripping and tense stuff notwithstanding and Miners made the early breakthrough as Tom Farrimond and Martin Lewis combined to put Dan Ogden stretching out to score at the corner. Rose Bridge hit back and with Tony Baker a real livewire and willing runners in Scott Winstanley and Craig Sanby, they took the front as Baker exposed a gap in Miners’ defence for Wayne Leyland to race through and turn back inside for Baker to claim the try, Kenny Baker with the conversion. Bridge should really have extended their advantage but were made to pay right on the interval as Miners retook the lead, Kieron Eccleston kicking out on the full from inside his own half and the home side using the field position for Scott O’Brien to send the outstanding Shaun Marsh scattering the defenders and charging under the posts, O’Brien goaling for 10-6.
Bridge though responded positively and for much of the opening fifteen minutes after half time they were camped in the Miners’ half, some sterling defence most notably from Pendlebury to deny Winstanlley, and associated handling errors ensuring their only reward was a try for Winstanley created by Tony Baker and goaled by Kenny Baker, for a two point lead. That advantage was wiped out as Miners came on strong in the final quarter, led by Ross Bradley with two well-taken tries, the first coming off good hands by Craig Connor and Adam Thomason, the second when O’Brien kicked behind the defence and Bradley juggled the ball over his head before gathering to score for a 20-12 lead. Then came the second of Pendlebury’s try-savers, a crunching tackle to send the ball flying from Ryan Eccleston’s hands as he raced for the line. Miners never looked back from that moment and scored two further tries in the closing stages, Farrimond with a tremendous break from acting half and feeding the supporting Darryl Flannery for the try, then some fine improvised play, Bradley hacking on a loose ball on half way and picking up on the line for O’Brien to in turn send Steve Kenny under the posts for the home side’s sixth try. Deep into stoppage time Bridge claimed a consolation score, Sanby scoring on the overlap after Miners lost possession in their own half, but it was the final action of the game and the home side were up and running for the season.
More pictures from the game courtesy of club photographer Chris Lee
Gamestar – Scott O’Brien was a bundle of tricks with a hand in most of Miners’ tries.
Gamebreaker – Ross Bradley’s second try, swiftly followed by Sean Pendlebury’s try-saver on Ryan Eccleston, turned the game decisively in Miners’ favour.
Leigh Miners Rangers – Sean Pendlebury, Chris Barlow, Shaun Marsh, Ross Bradley, Dan Ogden, Martin Lewis, Scott O’Brien, Craig Connor, Tom Farrimond, Darryl Kay, Adam Thomason, Steve Kenny, Danny Jones Subs – David Rowland, Darryl Flannery, Darryl Appleby, Kevin Howells
Tries – Ogden (11), Marsh (37), Bradley (66,69), Flannery (78), Kenny (80)
Goals – O’Brien 4
MoM – Scott O’Brien
Ince Rose Bridge – Martin Packingham, Ryan Eccleston, Wayne Leyland, Craig Sanby, Matt Cunningham, Kieron Eccleston, Tony Baker, Scott Winstanley, Matt Meadon, John Clossick, Martin Butler, Lee Jones, Kenny Baker Subs – Connor Matthews, Adam Jones, Brad Roden, Ritchie Shaw
Tries – T Baker (15), Winstanley (60), Sanby (80+7)
Goals – K Baker 3
MoM – Tony Baker
Referee – John McMullen (Wigan)
« Under 18 ‘s travel to Rylands for tough physical test ! Under 18’s – Ryland Sharks 18 – Leigh Miners Rangers 14 »