Leigh Miners return to the bread and butter of the league on Saturday when they take on Rochdale Mayfield at home in Round 3 of the NCL Kingstone Press Cider Premier Division, Kick off 2-30pm at Twist Lane.
Miners are full of confidence at the moment and so they should be after last weekends excellent performance against Championship One side Oxford RL, the visitors coming out strong in the opening ten minutes but other than that they was no match for a Miners side who where excellent throughout and worthy 32-6 winners. The reward for beating Oxford is another home tie against Championship One side York City Knights.
The York game is now on the back burner for the next three weeks with two big league games against newly promoted sides before that, starting with Rochdale Mayfield this weekend and then travelling to Oulton Raiders the week after Easter. The lads know they can’t be living off last weekends performance on Saturday and think it’s just a matter of turning up or they will be in for a big shock against a tough Mayfield outfit who had an excellent win last weekend against Thatto Heath. With home form massive for Miners again this year they are determined to put in another strong performance to keep that unbeaten record intact for 2015.
Speaking about beating Oxford last weekend, utility forward Tom Farrimond said “I think the win against Oxford was great for us as a club. With the attention and controversy leading into the game, it meant we were under the microscope, there were lots of people hoping we got the win, which added some pressure on to us. I thought we dealt with it all superbly and were good value for the win.”
“Showing the whole rugby league world that you can’t progress to the next stage in this sport without years of playing and training together, something I felt was lacking in Oxford’s team.”
And ahead of this weekends league clash with Mayfield, Farrimond added “This week’s game puts us against newly promoted Rochdale, we’ll be up against a different type of pressure, where it will be up to us to match their enthusiasm and be clinical with ball in hand for 80 minutes. If we play as we are capable and put last week’s events behind us I’m confident we can get the win.”
Coaches Allan Coleman & Paul Whitworth will again have a fully fit squad to choose from this week but are expected to make two or three changes this weekend to keep things freshened up with Brad Hargreaves, Danny Jackson and Jack Probert all coming into contention. More positive news on the playing front was the return to training of Lee Gittins on Thursday night, Lee hoping to return to action in May after recovering from another serious knee injury.
On last weeks Oxford win, joint first team coach Allan Coleman said ” I Thought we was outstanding last weekend the best we have played for along time and maybe are best performance since I’ve been coaching at club everything we worked on came good.”
“A massive thanks to everyone who supported us against Oxford, you made are day thanks again and hopefully we will see you all Saturday.”
Paul Whitworth said of the Oxford win “It was a big moment for the club as a whole, We had promised the lads a day out and I’m really proud of the players attitude throughout.”
“What happened in the run up actually built up some additional pressure on us so it was important we prepared to make sure we had done everything possible to get the performance. We were confident we could get the result but it needed us to still focus on what we have been practising and to execute it to the best of our ability.
“Before we went out we viewed some clips of us in previous big games and the key message was if we trust ourselves in how we play we could be making history for the club.”
“Their team was a bit different from what we had reviewed and they started off really well by testing our edges. Some of their big guys managed to get us on a couple of offloads and going over for their score they seemed good value.”
“But as we started completing their energy seemed to fade and they were having to start kicking back to us from yardage. This gave us some good opportunities to test them in good ball and we gained lots of confidence from this. I had said in the game preview we had put together 2 good halfs in 2 games, and we managed to put in a complete performance for 80 minutes that the lads and club will rightly be remembered for.”
Looking ahead to Rochdale Mayfield this weekend, Coleman said ” Last week is gone now and we have to focus on Saturday, we have set targets this year and one of them is being unbeaten at home. We no it will be tough as Mayfield are a big, strong, physical outfit.”
“But our players will be ready and so will are attitude. Players are playing for shirts and that can only be a good thing.”
With Whitworth adding “We’ve faced them in the Challenge Trophy quite recently and have some knowledge on them. They have some solid experienced performers in Quanici and Calland.”
“They picked up a good win at home against Thatto Heath at the weekend albeit in a flurry of Cards. I spoke to one of the Thatto players on Monday and he has given his thoughts on them. Mayfield will be buoyed by that win and we expect a tough afternoon.”
Rochdale Mayfield are coached by former Halifax coach Matt Calland who also plays in the centre for the newly promoted side, on their return to the top flight Mayfield have won one and lost one so far this season. Losing 26-10 on the opening day of the season away at Egremont Rangers and last week winning 44-24 at home against Thatto Heath Crusaders, trailing twenty four nil just before half time to go on and score forty four unanswered points against a Thatto side who ended the game with eleven men.
It’s local derby time on Saturday for Leigh Miners 2nd team when they make the short trip to take on Golborne Parkside in the league, Kick off 2-30pm at Rivington Avenue.
The u18s are away on Sunday against Clock Face Miners in the league.