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Thatto Heath Crusaders 50 Leigh Miners Rangers 4

Jun 13 • Senior Club News, Uncategorised • 1374 Views • Comments Off on Thatto Heath Crusaders 50 Leigh Miners Rangers 4

It was a chastening experience for Miners as they went down to their heaviest league defeat for many a year against a red-hot Thatto side who seized the leadership of the division with this half century romp. Admittedly Miners were missing a host of key individuals and if there is one team you don’t want to be under-strength against then it is probably the ruthless Crusaders: Miners have a terrible record at Close Street under the best of circumstances and on this occasion they were swept aside in clinical fashion.
Not that the visitors lacked anything in effort, with Gary Gittens relacing his boots and causing Thatto problems throughout with his ability to offload from seemingly every drive, whilst Scott O’Brien and Darryl Kay tried their hardest to find the inspiration. 28-4 down with ten minutes remaining would have represented a fair reflection and an convincing but honourable defeat, but the closing stages were cruel on Miners as Thatto simply piled on the points.
In addition to the returning Gittens senior, Miners also brought in Tony Doyle, Martin Gray, Chris Slater and Jimmy Muir back from injury, although their ranks of NCL experience were further drained when Jonny Youds was injured inside the first quarter. By that stage Miners had opened brightly, pounding away at the Thatto line without reward, only to be stung twice in quick succession as the home side showed their try-scoring threat, rotund stand-off Andy Stott the fulcrum as always as he gave a masterclass in halfback play and his team-mates the eager supporters as they burst through from half way, Matty Range the beneficiary on both occasions as he finished off under the posts for Shaun Quinn to convert. Miners steadied the ship somewhat and tried to find a way back into the game but just as they appeared to be recovering from that barrage they were hit again, Jack Jones kicking high on the last and as the defence hesitated Anthony Bate – one of two Leigh Centurions under-20s players made available to Heath for this game – soared to juggle the ball and ground it over the line.
Trailing 18-0 at the turnaround Miners needed a swift response and they started the second half full of belief that they could yet get something from the game as they forced repeat sets in the Thatto twenty and made the breakthrough when Doyle put McDonald over at the corner flag. However that was destined to be as good as it got for Miners as Thatto were in complete control, adding scores with increasing regularity as the half went on. The Crusaders responded immediately when Sean Kenny put Adam Walsh over for a try and then Stott flighted a kick high to the right wing where Ryan Heaton was afforded the space and time to take the catch and drop over the line and 28-4.
At this point the scoreline remained respectable although Miners were rarely doing more than hanging on, Doyle intercepting after Heaton attempted to acrobatically tip Stott’s kick back in-field for Corey Lee to finish and then Adam Thomason doing well to nail Walsh as Thatto looked to launch a swift counter-attack, but they had a brief attacking flurry with Gray held up over the line. In the final ten minutes though Thatto were ruthless and tries came on a conveyor belt, first with Walsh tearing through down the left for his second, then Stott kicking to the right again and the ball bobbling up for Heaton to put Lee over the line. The bulky stand-off then got in on the scoring act himself, taking a pass forty metres out and trundling in for a thoroughly-deserved effort. At the death another flowing move and kick downfield had men queuing up to score, Alex Smith the beneficiary this time as the Crusaders ran up the fifty.
Thatto – Shaun Quinn, Darren Woods, Adam Walsh, Corey Lee, Ryan Heaton, Andrew Stott, Jack Jones, Mick Ledger, Matty Range, Andy Lea, Dave Pike, Jamie Tracey, Luke Bradshaw Subs Sean Kenny, Chris Frodsham, Alex Smith, Anthony Bate
Tries – Range (12, 19), Bate (32), Walsh (49, 70), Heaton (52), Lee (73), Stott (75), Smith (78)
Goals – Quinn 7
MoM – Andrew Stott
Miners – Jonny Youds, Gareth Pain, Sean McDonald, Adam Thomason, Andrew Hodson, Jimmy Muir, Scott O’Brien, Garry Gittens, Joe Harrison, Darryl Kay, Tom Farrimond, Martin Gray, Dave Rowlands Subs Tony Doyle, Chris Slater, Semisi Cocker, Todd Appleby
Try – McDonald (42)
MoM – Gary Gittens
Referee – Andrew Fazakerley

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