Leigh Miners return to Ladbrokes Challenge Cup action on Saturday when they take on Championship One outfit Oxford RL in the fourth round, Kick off 2-30pm at Leigh Sports Village. The game being moved from Twist Lane earlier in the week after Oxford refused to play on Miners home ground which caused a lot of noise in support of Miners from the rugby league family and further afield. Club volunteers have worked overtime in organising the game at the LSV and all at the club would like to thank all those who have give generous donations to pay for the hire of the stadium and much more to make the day a success in what is a massive day for Leigh Miners Rangers.
For information on the pre-match entertainment and all the day’s events visit http://www.leighminersrangers.net/openage/100club-vip-event/
Miners go into Saturday’s cup clash on the back of a tough 24-22 NCL season opening victory against local rivals Wigan St Pats last weekend, making a very slow start to the game to comeback and win the game late on thanks to Adam Thomason’s second try of the afternoon. The lads knowing they was nowhere near their best against pats, but where more than happy to get the victory and that allows them to now fully focus on Oxford with no worries about the league and having to pick up that first win.
Everyone is very exited about playing Oxford at the weekend and their as been a real buzz around the club over the last couple of weeks ahead of the game. The players will be looking to produce a top class display in front of what will hopefully be a cracking crowd cheering them on as they look to become the first Miners side to beat professional opposition since 1999 when they beat Bramley.
Speaking about last weekends game, International centre Adam Thomason said “After the poor start to the game, I thought we did really well to come away with the two points. We showed in the last ten minutes that we are capable of getting ourselves in a position to win the game and then protecting that lead, which puts in good stead for the season ahead. Although parts of our performance were encouraging, we know we need to be performing for the full eighty to give us a chance of winning silverware.
And looking ahead to Saturday’s game Adam added “All the lads are really looking forward to Saturday’s game against Oxford. You can tell its a big game at the weekend because even Jonny Carroll has been allowed to train! It’s unfortunate that the game hasn’t been allowed to take place at Twist Lane, but judging from the support on social media, the atmosphere at the LSV on Saturday should really add to the occasion.”
“Politics aside, we have trained well this week and will be eager to give the fans something to cheer about in the club after the game.”
Coaches Allan Coleman & Paul Whitworth will have a full strength squad to choose from on Saturday with Danny Jackson and Connor Ratcliffe both recovering from minor injuries to leave both Allan and Paul with another very tough selection headache on their hands as they pick their seventeen to take on Oxford.
On last weeks season opening win against Wigan St Pats, joint coach Allan Coleman said ” I thought we was very lacksidasicle against St Pats, our completion was very poor below 60% overall but we won the game and it shows we have a great team spirit at moment, for me we was thinking about Oxford too much.”
Paul Whitworth adding “We’ve had better starts to games. I thought Pats put alot of energy into the first half but we were a little disappointed on how we responded to that, At half time we knew from the previous week that West Hull was in a worse position than we were in and if we got back to doing the right things and completed well we would get the right outcomes.”
“So in two weeks we’ve had two good halfs in two separate games, and two late wins that shows the character in the side. Adam Thomason came up with two plays that probably got us the win and I thought Shaun Dowie, Chris Bowers and Martin Gray off the bench was instrumental for us.”
On this weeks cup game against Oxford, Whitworth said “We’ve had the opportunity to get some video work in with Leigh Centurions. Paul Rowley and his staff were keen to help us and I know the whole of the Centurions team will be having a hard earned beer watching us on Saturday.”
“We did a field session based on the points we picked up on video and on Thursday we went against Leigh Centurions Reserves thanks to the offer from their coach Paul Anderson. On behalf of the club I’d just like to thank them for all their help. Myself, Allan and volunteers have spent many hours and even used holiday leave from our day jobs to make today happen – it’s been a big undertaking with so much to organise.”
“We know quite a few names in their squad who we have faced before. It is a tough challenge but one we’re aiming to enjoy. The only pressure on us is the pressure to perform. It looks like we may have a decent crowd so we need give a good account of ourselves and the club.”
With Coleman adding “The boys are training really hard, it’s our final and our big day out and we are going to enjoy it.”
“We have done our homework on them so we are fully prepared for Saturday, Its unbelievable how the town and the whole of rugby league has got behind us.so we have to repay them by performing to our ability.”
“A big thanks to Derek Beaumont, Paul Rowley and all at Leigh Centurions they have been amazing!I will just leave you with our team motto for this year (Team on a mission).”
Oxford go into the game having played three games so far this year, beating NCL Division One side Hunslet Warriors 14-6 in a friendly in January and in competitive games lost 56-20 in the first round of the IPro Sport League 1 Cup in February before beating local rivals Hemel Stags 22-10 a fortnight ago in the third round of the challenge cup. Oxford start there Kingstone Press Cider League 1 campaign on good Friday with an away game at newcomers Coventry Bears.
Playing wise Miners don’t know to much about them with Aaron Jones Bishop and Nathan Kitson being two to have played against Miners in the last couple of years for Milford Marlins and Bradford Dudley Hill respectively. Kashley Watkins who has this year signed for the club from Swinton Lions had a very brief spell for Miners during the 2010/2011 season.
For ticket information on Saturday’s game visit
Leigh Miners 2nd team start their defence of the NWML Trophy on Saturday when they travel to Halton Farnworth Hornets in the first round, Kick off 2-30pm.
The u18s will be looking to bounce back from last weeks 42-32 away defeat at Wigan St Pats on Sunday when they take on Leyland Warriors in the league at Twist Lane, Kick off 12pm.
Leigh Miners Ladies have no friendly fixture this weekend, the new league campaign is now expected to start after Easter.