Leigh Miners travel over the Pennines to Castleford on Saturday to take on Lock Lane in Round 8 of the NCL Kingstone Press Cider Premier Division, Kick off 2-30pm at Lock Lane Sports Centre.
Miners go to Yorkshire looking to bounce straight back after suffering their first league defeat of the season last weekend away at Egremont. Starting the game well and taking an early lead from a Scott O’Brien try, only to be blitzed for a twenty minute spell before the break, conceding five tries and not helping themselves during that spell with the bounce of the ball going against Miners on occasions, but with giving away soft penalties and not being tough enough defensively all across the board they was kept on the back foot until half time. There can be certainly no complaints with the result but the players can be credited for the comeback they made in the second half and for taking the game to the end, after looking like they was going to be in for a very long afternoon when they trailed 28-4 at the break.
This weeks trip to Lock Lane could prove an even tougher test than it was last weekend in Cumbria with the home side again making a good solid start to the season. Attacking is not a problem for Miners with them confident of scoring from anywhere on the field, but they know they will have to be much tougher in defence on Saturday if they are to pick up their second away win of the season and return to winning ways.
Coaches Allan Coleman & Paul Whitworth make four changes from last weeks defeat at Egremont, with Tony Doyle, Tom Farrimond, Andrew Groves and Connor Ratcliffe coming into the side for Mark Nicholson, Mike O’Boyle, Bud Skinkis and the injured Jonny Youds.
On last weeks defeat at Egremont, coach Paul Whitworth said “Its disappointing to lose but I think it was 2 or 3 quick freakish tries in 15 minutes from some unorthodox kicking that caught us out.”
“It was really hard to recover a foot hold in the game because we were actually defending well to the end of the sets but the kicks caught us out.”
“As people who have watched us know, we have good young players who are attack-minded and that’s how we play. It was really frustrating to watch how slow the game was allowed to be ruined around the ruck”
“We expect Officials at the top amateur level to understand the game and react accordingly. The players want to play and at times it frustrates them and the people paying to watch.”
“On reflection though, it took a lot of character to find a way back into the game. Not many teams are able to produce a second half performance under the conditions I mentioned above and although I’m disappointed in the loss, I’m proud of the players response.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, Whitworth added “Lock Lane are always tough outfit at home. We are aware their top scorers are out on the edges so they must be working their structures well and our focus has to be on dealing with that defensively.”
“We will need to turn up with the right attitude, focus on winning this game, not on our or their form. There was an area of our game that went away from us last week which I’ll expect to see back on Saturday.”
Lock Lane go into Saturday’s game unbeaten in their last three games, the most recent being a 32-28 away victory at Rochdale Mayfield last weekend. That result moving the Castleford outfit into second position on 9 points and leaving them as the only team in the Premier Division who are unbeaten away from home this season.
Leigh Miners 2nd team are at home again on Saturday against Woolston Rovers in the league, Kick off 2-30pm at Twist Lane.
The u18s game against Portico Vine has been postponed to a later date due to a number of Miners lads travelling to Yorkshire to watch Leigh Centurions in the Challenge Cup.
Leigh Miners Ladies are away on Sunday in the league against Wigan St Pats, Kick off 2-30pm at Clarington Park.