Miners went down to another defeat on their travels on a day overshadowed by injury to Lee Gittins.
Whilst the dislocated knee suffered by the luckless Miners’ star puts the game into perspective – and thankfully he was discharged from hospital and able to travel back with the rest of the team that evening – this was another lacklustre display as Miners finished well-beaten on their travels for the second weekend in succession.
The Leigh side were again missing key personnel, and whilst Luke Murfin returned to the side Liam Coleman and Jimmy Muir joined the list of absentees. Danny Myers moved to stand-off with Scott Travis and Sean MacDonald on the wings. Skirlaugh had won their previous two home games as they seek to climb away from the drop zone but they were missing captain Trevor Penrose, with youngster Jed Carter his replacement and enjoying a fine game with two tries.
The opening stages were cagey with few clear cut opportunities but those that did come along were taken by the home side, first as a Miners’ attack broke down and play was swiftly moved downfield where Carter rumbled over for a six-pointer, then when a break down the middle was supported by James Jennison to finish off from inside the Miners’ half, Ross Kemp adding his second conversion. Miners gradually clawed their way back into the game and just before half time they had a lifeline, Darryl Kay offloading for Martin Gray and Murfin to take play into the Skirlaugh half and although the ball went to ground Tom Farrimond regained possession and play was spread right where Garry Gittins put brother Lee over the line, Jonny Youds converting. Having been second best so far Miners would certainly have settled for 12-6 at the break but they were undone in stoppage time as Skirlaugh forced a goal-line drop-out and from the repeat set found a way through, James Higginbotham putting Scott Mountain through a gaping hole near the line and in for another converted try.
The game was drifting away from Miners and although they had another half-chance when the tireless Kay offloaded to put Murfin away he was ankle-tapped as he crossed half-way and Skirlaugh regained possession from the knock-on. A Kemp penalty from the half-way line had Skirlaugh 20-6 up before play was halted as Lee Gittins twisted awkwardly in the tackle and it was immediately apparent the Miners’ man was in a great deal of distress. The game was stopped for almost half an hour as he received treatment on the pitch and the ambulance arrived, but on the resumption of action it was clear that Skirlaugh had understandably kept clearer heads than Miners as they scored two quick tries to settle any lingering doubts as to the result. First Carter crashed onto a short ball under the sticks and although he appeared to lose the ball as he went to ground it the try was awarded. Just two minutes later and another home try as Kemp dived over the line from acting half, converting both himself for 32-6 with twenty minutes remaining. There was time on the clock for Skirlaugh to rack up an even bigger scoreline but Miners belatedly found some fire, digging in defensively and enjoying the final word on the scoreboard as Gary Gittins completed an eventful day for the family as he surged over from acting half for his first try of the season, Youds goaling. Skirlaugh almost had a response as Mountain broke downfield but Adam Thomason tracked back superbly to haul the big second-row down and prevent Miners suffering further humiliation.
Skirlaugh – James Tindall, Michael Johnson, Simon Kilby, Ross Kemp, Paul Hannath,Chris Brown,James Jennison, Jed Clarke, Tommy Harrison, Jon Young, Lee Knobbs, Scott Mountain, James Higginbotham Subs Alex Scruton, Brandon Graham, Matt Shear, Dan Kitchen
Tries – Carter 2, Jennison, Mountain, Kemp
G – Kemp 6
MoM – Jon Young
Miners – Jonny Youds, Sean MacDonald, Martin Gray, Adam Thomason, Scott Travis, Danny Myers, Tony Doyle, Kevin Howells, Tom Farrimond, Darryl Kay, Chris Slater, Luke Murfin, Lee Gittins Subs – Gary Gittins, Dave Wood, Chris Barlow, Dave Rowlands
Tries – L Gittins, G Gittins
Goals – Youds 2
MoM – Darryl Kay
Referee – John McMullen
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