On a day when they mourned the passing of club great Bob Dowling, Leigh Miners Rangers turned in an accomplished display as two teams featuring plenty of changes served up a cracking game at gloomy Twist Lane.
Despite the emphatic appearance of the final scoreline this was in reality a tightly-contested affair with the Warriors well-led by the outstanding Caldon Bravo and able support from Daryl Gaunt and Matty Scott, and they pounded the Miners line for long spells only to find the home defence in irresistible form.
Miners by contrast had a blitz of four tries either side of the interval which took the game away from the Warriors, with Lee Gittens unstoppable down the right flank and Scott O’Brien and Jimmy Muir in fine form.
The first half ebbed and flowed with Miners drawing first blood as Gittens finished off well from Matty Meaden’s pass, but Warriors drew level as Nathan Kitson put Gary McClelland over on 10 minutes. Miners re-established their lead with two tries for Shaun Dowie as the Australian finished off well, but Bravo charged in from 35 metres out to put Warriors right back in the game.
It had been a see-saw affair but Miners took command with two tries before the break, the first as Dowie grabbed his hat-trick and the second as Tom Farrimond and Muir returned the kick-off up the middle to set the position for O’Brien to go in for his first.
That commanding position was made almost impregnable with two more quick tries after the break, both created by Gittens as he first surged away and put O’Brien in and then turned provider on the outside for Jake Waterworth to score.
Warriors never threw the towel in and they pounded relentlessly at the Miners line, the intensity of the game belying the scoreline, but Miners held firm and then hit again as Jack Probert cut in for another try 10 minutes from time. Warriors had the last word with a converted Gaunt try, but it was to no avail as Miners celebrated a hard-earned two points.
This weekend the first team travel to Wath Brow while the Alliance host Wigan St Patricks (Saturday, 2.30pm).
Photos thanks to Hunslet Warriors