Miners Rangers claimed Street of Origin bragging rights with another second half supershow to stun rivals East. Trailing 20-16 at the interval after the visitors had enjoyed the better of a see-saw first half, Miners stepped up the tempo after the turnaround to post 26 unanswered points with the highlight being Liam Coleman’s pitch-length second try. Miners entered the game without captain Scott O’Brien, nursing an injury sustained in the closing stages of the previous weekend’s cup win over Wath Brow, whilst Tom Farrimond’s ever-present run was ended with holiday commitments. Back into the side came John Woods, Aaron Gorton and the return of Danny Jones after two months’ absence. East were missing their impressive Australian second-row Alex Robson but talisman Danny Kilshaw returned to the fray as four ex-Miners lined up in red-and-black including Dean Balmer and Kieran Dainty making their first return to Twist Lane since leaving the club and teenage giant Connor Partington playing at centre.
On a still summer evening and in front of a bumper crowd it was East who made the brighter start as early substitute Adrian Dootson broke down the left and chipped a kick inside only for Jonny Youds to coolly defuse the danger, but the reprieve was short-lived as just a few moments later Kilshaw picked off an intercept from Sean Pendlebury and went in from half-way, a moment of personal redemption for the East man after his unwitting role in Josh Ward’s try in the cup tie a few weeks earlier. On the quarter hour the lead was doubled and it was Kilshaw again involved, his pinpoint crossfield kick on the last tackle finding Jermaine Allen with the freedom of WN7 to gather the ball and tumble over the line, Kerrod Selmes with both conversions. Kilshaw’s evening came to an end not long afterwards as he was forced from the field but even at this stage his influence had been vital. However on twenty minutes his Miners’ counterpart Coleman had come up with the first of his moments of magic, taking the pass from Gorton under the posts and somehow wrestling his way over the line despite the attentions of three defenders, Youds goaling to bring Miners back into the game. Coleman was involved again, breaking through the defence and putting Shaun Marsh away only for the pass to go to ground, but two tries in five minutes either side of the half hour had Miners ahead. First some good approach play saw Youds link into the line and fire the pass left for Martin Lewis to gather and score out wide, then the home side hit the front with some quick thinking from substitute Jimmy Muir. Miners were awarded a penalty on the East line and as the visiting defence dozed Muir took the tap and dived over the line, Youds goaling for 16-12. Straight from the restart though and East were back in front, Selmes with the short kick-off and Dainty doing well to reclaim possession and taking play to the Miners line, where Selmes produced a soft-shoe shuffle to wrong-foot the defence and score beside the posts. Right on half time and the Australian hooker landed a penalty goal for holding down as East went in 20-16 to the good.
The game was still in the balance though, and within three minutes of the restart Miners had a lead they wouldn’t relinquish thanks to a piece of magic by Youds. East lost the ball deep inside Miners’ territory and the fullback kicked the loose ball downfield, regathered as it bounced up high before stepping out of the attempted tackle and streaking clear. With Allen closing in pursuit Youds shipped the ball wide right for the supporting Ross Bradley to finish off and put Miners 22-20 ahead. The home side began turning the screw and East began to wilt, Danny Jackson driving hard to the line but his offload to Muir a forward pass. The next try wasn’t long in coming though as Miners were awarded a penalty on the East line and with Carl Redford stricken downfield the home side were allowed the play on with a man advantage, the ball shipped right for Adam Thomason to dive over, Youds’ conversion putting Miners two scores clear. The game was well and truly up for East on the hour when John Taylor was dismissed for a swinging arm on Darryl Kay as frustrations boiled over, and from there it was just a question of how many more Miners would rack up, despite some spirited resistance from Dainty and youngster Tom Fletcher. Lewis grabbed his second after emergency winger Marsh was held short, the centre burrowing over from close range, then Marsh himself had the try after some fine passing ended with Youds throwing the wide pass left for the substitute to finish off. At the death came the try of the match and a fitting end to the game as East lost possession inside the Miners’ twenty and Coleman juggled with the loose ball before cantering down the left wing and then coming up with a textbook hand-off on the pursuing Dainty to gain the momentum to finish off for a memorable solo try and to ice the victory cake for Miners.
Miners – Jonny Youds, Sean Pendlebury, Ross Bradley, Martin Lewis, John Woods, Liam Coleman, Josh Ward, Danny Jackson, Aaron Gorton, Darryl Kay, Adam Thomason, Lee Gittins, David Rowlands Subs – Jimmy Muir, Danny Jones, Shaun Marsh, Kevin Howells
Tries – Coleman (20, 79), Lewis (27, 66), Muir (32), Bradley (43), Thomason (52), Marsh (70)
Goals – Youds 5
MoM – Liam Coleman
East – Kieran Dainty, Andrew Groves, Carl Redford, Connor Partington, Jermaine Allen, Danny Kilshaw, Adam Holland, Dean Balmer, Kerrod Selmes, Lee Rowley, John Taylor, Lee Wingfield, Mark Ballard Subs – Tom Fletcher, Lyndon Robertson, Adrian Dootson, Ryan O’Toole
Tfries – Kilshaw (9), Allen (15), Selmes (34)
Goals – Selmes 4
Sent-Off – John Taylor (60, swinging arm)
MoM – Jermaine Allen
Referee – Darren Hayes
With thanks to Chris Lee and Alan Ball for the photos below