Leigh Miners are still searching for their first win of the new summer era after crashing out of the Carnegie Challenge Cup yesterday afternoon against a Darren Bamford inspired Royal Navy team 32-24 on a boiling hot day in Portsmouth, The ex-Wigan St Pats full back running havoc in the first half scoring a hat trick to give the Navy a well-deserved 22-0 half time lead and leave Miners shell shocked after a very poor first half display.
Full match report courtesy of Royal Navy rugby league:
Royal Navy v Leigh Miners Rangers Carnegie Challenge Cup 2nd Round Sat 10th March 2012 – Kick off 1400 – USSG Burnaby Road Portsmouth PO1 2EJ Ref. Mr Michael Mannifield
Due to the weather in February the Brothers came into this fixture short on match practise as well as missing several first team regulars who were away at sea. However Head Coach Danny Johnson took the opportunity to promote a clutch of Academy players into the Seniors as well as welcoming back Lee Hunter and Dave Gee to the fold back from injury. The 17 players on the day however put on a fantastic performance especially in the first half to topple a strong and well fancied Miners side who on paper should have taken the tie. The RNRL victory justifies the RFL decision to promote RNRL up a grade based on recent performances highlighting the strength and ongoing development of the sport within the service. The weather forecast for the day promised mild cloudy but dry conditions, I suppose 1 out of 3 isn’t bad because as Ref Michael Mannifield led the players out the sun was beating down from a cloudless sky on what was probably the hottest afternoon of the year so far! Following a minutes silence to mark the passing of the six soldiers from Northern England Ref Mannifield got the game underway. The first exchanges were good for both sides but the RN had the advantage when the Miners were pulled up for offside and winger Jon Humphrey slotted over a good penalty to put his side 2-0 up after three minutes. More good play brought the home side into the Miners half again, this time Scrum half Lockton put over a perfect chip kick which he gathered himself and made the thirty or so yards to the line but was bundled into touch before he could ground the ball. Frustrating at the time but it gave the Brothers a lot of hope by the ease with which Lockton cut up the visitors defence. Gaining in confidence all the time the RN side were soon back on the attack this time with the perfect result. After regaining pouncing on a loose ball Scrum half Lockton fed influential centre Kitione Kamkamica who evaded the Miners tacklers and slipped a perfect inside pass to full back Darren Bamford who beat the defence in a 60 metre sprint to the line to touch down for his first of the afternoon. Jon Humphrey landed the conversion putting his side even further ahead at 8-0. * minutes later the Brothers were on the scoreboard again, another defence busting break from his own half saw Bamford again heading for the line, this time with men either side of him confusing the defence he broke the line to score under the posts following another 50 metre race to the line and again Humphrey landed the goal 14-0 up and the crowd could not believe what was unfolding in front of them. The Leigh outfit had a few breaks of their own but the RN defence were well up to the challenge, on the two occasions a Leigh player did cross the line the RN muscled up to prevent the ball being grounded saving the score. In midfield the RN pack were more than equal to the task halting the Leigh attacks as well as making plenty of yards themselves. As the half drew to a close the game was still up for grabs but it looked to be getting out of reach for the visitors when another flowing long distance attack put Jon Humphrey in at the corner but the try was chalked off for a pass that was adjudged to have been forward by the touch judge. The Brothers disappointment was only short lived however as with barely five minutes to the break Bamford completed his hat trick. This time Kev Botwood gathered his own chip kick and made for the line drawing the defence before another inch perfect pass brought Darren Bamford in again and for the third time in the half he skinned the weary looking Miners defence to go over to the right of the posts 18-0. If the Miners thought the Brothers would ease off towards the break they were soon proved wrong. Following a penalty for off side the RN got into the Miners half and Kev Botwood took the ball up to the defence before launching a brilliant 15 metre pass out to the left which was taken by Bamford who drew the defence before slipping the ball out to Kamikamica and the Royal Marines upper body strength did the rest as he brushed off three defenders to touch down out wide. Jon Humphrey could not convert nonetheless the RN were 22-0 up at half time after probably the best first half performance by a Brothers side for many years.
Such is the game of Rugby League that the second half turned out to be a thriller that had both sets of supporters on their feet as game swung back and forth over the forty minutes. Initially it seemed as if it was business as usual, more good approach work saw Tim Vodonaivalu held up just short but from the play the ball Kye Larvin scored the perfect hookers try burrowing under the Miners defence to touch down. With Jon Humphrey receiving treatment Darren Bamford converted the try and the home side were now amazingly 28-0 ahead. Five minutes later another RN attack seemed to have stalled in midfield but an inch perfect kick from Steve Lockton out to the wing taken out of the defenders hands by impressive debutant Ben Johnson who, as he was being dragged down by the defence, skilfully off loaded inside to Tim Vodonaivalu who spun through 180 degrees to touch down for the Brothers sixth and final try. So there we were RN 32-0 up with almost 50 minutes gone, no way back for the Miners then or was there. Barely five minutes after Vodonlaivalu’s try the first serious mistake by the RN defence saw a loose ball being picked up by an offside player giving the penalty to the Miners. From the penalty the ball was shipped out to the wing and second row Danny Trimble went over to post his sides first points of the game, this was followed by a great conversion by Scrum half and Captain Scott O’Brien, 32-6. That score spurred on the Miners whilst at the same time setting the RN back and five minutes later the Miners were in again, full back Sean Pendlebury going over from 20 yards after some slick handling, O’Brien again landing the extras, 32-12. The Brothers were now well and truly up against it and were defending for their lives, however despite defending repeat sets O’Brien put in a chip kick off the outside of his boot and got round the defence to touch down the loose ball. The Miners skipper then converted his own try and it was definitely game on at 32-18 with just under 20 minutes left. The home side had regained some of their composure but again O’Brien got the better of them and with a couple of quality sidesteps he crossed under the posts and again converted his own try. So with 10 minutes to go the Brothers were ahead by only 8 points. Skipper Mark Robinson rallied his troops and with a final defensive effort the RN got back on terms and held off determined attacks from the Miners. A huge sigh of relief could be heard both on and off the pitch when Ref Mannifield finally thrilling cup tie to an end, sending the Royal Navy through to the third round for the second time in three years. Royal Navy Darren Bamford, Kami Kamkamika, Silivenuisi Buinimasi, Tim Vodonaivalu, Jon Humphrey, Kev Botwood, Steve Lockton, Richie Metcalfe, Kyle Larvin, Lewis Taylor, Craig Sutton, Lee Hunter, Mark Robinson, Matt Corrigan, Dave Gee, Jack Savage, Ben Johnson Coach Danny Johnson Scorers T, Bamford (3) Kamikamica, Larvin, Vodonaivalu G, Humphrey (2C)(1P)
Leigh Miners Rangers Sean Pendlebury, Darryl Flannery, Adam Thomason, Steve Kenney, Chris Barlow, Martin Lewis, Scott O’Brien (captain), Craig Connor, Tom Farrimond, Danny Kay, Danny Trimble, Shaun Marsh, Danny Jones, Dave Rowlands, Danny Appleby, Kev Howells, Gary Gittins Coach: Alan Coleman Scorers T, O’Brien(2) Pendlebury, Trimble G, O’Brien(4C)
Summary Scoring Sequence 2-0(5) 3mins, 6-0(1)11mins, 8-0(5)12, 12-0(1)20, 14-0(5)21, 18-0(1) 37, 22-0(2)39 HT 22-0 Second Half 26-0(9)43, 28-0(1)44, 32-0(4)48, 32-4(11)50, 32-6(7)52, 32-10(1)54, 32-12(7)55, 32-16(7)60, 32-18(7)61, 32-22(7)70, 32-24(7)71 Final Score 32-24 Sin Bin LMR No 06 38mins Dissent Game Breaker RN Full Back Darren Bamford, 3rd try just on half time from long distance. MoM RN Darren Bamford LMR Scott O’Brien
Miners play their first home game of the season on Friday night when they entertain Ince Rose Bridge.
The second team opened their season with a narrow 24-22 home defeat against Latchford Albion yesterday afternoon.
Leigh Miners Ladies lost 20-12 this afternoon against Wigan St Pats Ladies.
And finally the u18s lost 36-28 against last year’s NYL champions Thatto Heath Crusaders at Twist Lane to cap off a miserable weekend results wise for the senior section.