Leigh Miners Rangers continue their preparations for the 2015 season, with the open age men’s team having undertaken a weekend training camp with the Army as the pre-season campaign intensifies. With a number of new faces joining or returning to the club, the exercise was as much about team bonding as any physical conditioning, and coaches Allan Coleman and Paul Whitworth report seeing the benefits of the weekend in the positivity and enjoyment of the team at training.
Amongst the new players are a mix of familiar faces and new recruits. Haydn Bud Skinkis and Ryan Ravenscroft both return to the club following spells away whilst Mark Nicholson, Charlie Tyson and Ben Grimshaw step up from the under-18s. February also sees the return of the popular Australian Shaun Dowie, back from spending the winter back at home with his family. New faces at the club include threequarter Brad Hargreaves, once on the books at Salford and back after a year’s sabbatical, the promising raw talent of winger Harry Gagan who has earned England youth honours during his time at Liverpool Lions, former St Judes prop Connor Ratcliffe and Stanley Rangers’ Alex White. Coach Whitworth reflected “It’s a big commitment from the lads to play at this level, there is a lot of travelling and the standard is getting higher each year. We feel we’ve attracted the right calibre of player, people who want to test themselves and better themselves by playing at the top level, and our preparation so far this pre-season is all about getting things ready for the kick-off in March. Despite the result the Dockers game was encouraging, we looked two or three scores better than them but couldn’t take our chances and with the practice and preparation that will come. We don’t want to focus too far ahead, that’s perhaps something we’ve learnt in recent times, we just want to look at building the team and preparing correctly and then the results will follow.”
Miners meanwhile have been awarded a route back into the Challenge Cup after Dockers were found to have played in ineligible player in their victory a week ago. That means Miners will be at home to Walney Central in round two on Saturday 14th February, 2.30pm
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