Miners Rangers boosted their play-off hopes with this victory over already-relegated St Judes on the back of a landslide first half performance. With Jonny Youds and Darryl Kay on top form, and popular Australian Shaun Dowie marking his 2014 farewell by captaining the side and bagging 10 points in the first half, Miners were 36-0 up at oranges, but in a low-key second half Judes showed character to match their opponents try for try and salvage pride.
After their loss to Wath Brow the previous week Miners’ top six hopes were far from assured and victory here was imperative. It took a while for the points to flow, the only score of the first quarter being a slick finish by Andrew Groves, overcoming his amazement at an Adam Thomason offload to sneak in for a try goaled by Youds. But Judes put up stern resistance, Nathan Bevan leading the rearguard action, and Miners had to wait for the next breakthrough. When that did come, via Youds’ break finished by Jack Probert, it proved the catalyst for a flood of points before the interval. Probert was in for his second off Dowie before the terrier-like Aussie grabbed two of his own, the first off Youds’ neat reverse pass, Dowie adding the conversion, and the second again from Youds with the assist. The Miners’ fullback finished the scoring with a deserved six pointer of his own, first to Scott O’Brien’s reverse kick to dot down behind the posts.
When Matt Wilkinson grabbed his first senior try for the club ten minutes in to the second half Miners appeared on course for an even more emphatic result than their 62-0 at Parsons Meadow in the earlier fixture, but Judes were well served by the effervescent Barry Rothwell and the spirit of Andrew Silcock, Olly Oladele and Tom Owen. They grabbed their first try when David Carney put Brett Taberner through a gap to score, and although Miners had another six points of their own when Thomason broke clear and put O’Brien over, Judes at least had the final word as Craig Abbott slid in to ground Silcock’s kick in the in-goal.