Leigh Miners get a second bite of the cherry on Saturday afternoon when they take on Rochdale Mayfield in the NCL Premier Division Final Eliminator, Kick off 2-30pm at Twist Lane. The winner earning the right to take on Siddal in the Grand Final on Sunday 8th November at The Select Security Stadium in Widnes.
Miners go into the game on the back of a heavy 34-14 defeat last weekend against Siddal, Miners never getting going in what was a poor performance throughout from the Twist Lane outfit. Credit though must go to Siddal who were excellent from start to finish and dominated the game to inflict Miners first home defeat in over twelve months.
This week’s game will no doubt be just as tough if not tougher against an high flying Mayfield side who have had a excellent first season back in the top flight. Miners know they can’t afford to start slow against a side who on plenty of occasions this season have blown teams away in the opening twenty minutes of games, with the players knowing if they are to keep the treble dream alive they will have to be much tougher in defence and smarter with ball in hand than they was last week against Siddal if they want to reach the clubs first grand final in seven years.
Coaches Allan Coleman and Paul Whitworth make three changes from last week’s defeat against Siddal, with Darryl Kay, Tommy Parkinson and Connor Partington coming in for the injured Andrew Groves, Harry Gagen and Connor Ratcliffe.
Speaking about last weekends defeat against Siddal, joint first team coach Paul Whitworth said “We came up against a team who played at the top of their game for long periods.”
“We started well and finished well, but it was the spell in between that saw some uncharacteristic errors and judgements.”
“I’m not sure if the cushion of ‘another bite of the cherry’ scenario played its part. We can’t dwell on it, we need to move on and focus all our energy on this weeks game.”
Looking ahead to this week’s game, Paul added “It’s trap door football again, we don’t perform and it’s over.”
“These games bring the best out of us and to win you have to be up at 90% in every facet of your game as a minimum.”
“They are a tough outfit and we are looking for a positive response.”
“We’ve had a video session in the week and have identified some areas to work on.”
“Hopefully a couple of the players will have recovered from their injuries to strengthen us back up.”
“We’ll find out how much, as a group, we want to get to the final.”
Rochdale Mayfield travel to Leigh in great form having won eight of their last ten matches, that run of results seeing them finish third in the table and have home playoffs wins against Hull Dockers, who they hammered 54-4 and Wath Brow Hornets (22-12) last weekend to get them to this stage against Miners.
Victory for Matt Calland’s men will see them reach the first ever NCL Grand Final and become the fourth team since the playoffs where introduced in 2002 to win promotion from Division One and appear in the Premier Division Grand Final the following year, the three clubs achieving that already being Wath Brow Hornets (2005), Thatto Heath Crusaders (2011) and Myton Warriors (2012).