Leigh Miners return to league action on Saturday when they take on playoff rivals Thatto Heath Crusaders in Round 18 of the NCL Kingstone Press Cider Premier Division, Kick off 2-30pm at Twist Lane.
Miners go into Saturdays game on the back of an embarrassing 46-10 home defeat against local rivals Wigan St Pats last weekend, the defeat ending Miners 2014 unbeaten home record as well as their proud Conference Challenge Trophy record. The team performance going from one extreme to another in the space of seven days with the lads producing their best display in quite some time against West Hull the week before to go and play like they did against Pats the week after, the St Pats performance being the worst from a Miners side in a long time, being outplayed from start to finish in what was a dominant performance from the Wigan outfit. Whilst the club and players are disappointed with losing their grip on the Conference Challenge Trophy as well as their unbeaten home record, they will be looking to put last week right behind them and kick on for the remaining eight games of the season as they look to finish as high has they possibly can and increase their chances on making the end of season playoffs. The lads knowing if they are to bounce straight back, it will take a big team effort to beat a good Thatto side they have only beaten once in the last six meetings since the NCL switched to summer rugby in 2012.
Coach Allan Coleman returns from holiday to take over from joint coach Paul Whitworth who is now away on holiday for the next two games. Coleman making five changes from the St Pats defeat with Andrew Groves and Jimmy Muir both being away on holiday, Craig Ashall away at a wedding, Danny Jackson out injured and Tony Doyle who is playing for the second team on Friday night instead. Coming into the side are Chris Bowers, Mark Nicholson, Mike O’Boyle, Jack Probert and Charles Tyson.
Thatto Heath like Miners will be looking to bounce back after they to where beaten at home last weekend in the quarter final, losing 26-4 against West Hull. In the league last years minor premiers are again well placed, currently sitting in fourth position on 22 points, two points off top spot and having already beaten Miners 25-18 at Close Street in Round 1, Thatto will be confident of completing a league double over the men from Twist Lane for a second successive year to keep up the pressure at the top of the table.
Leigh Miners 2nd team are away in the league (NWML Division 2) on Friday night against Warrington outfit Rylands Sharks.
The u18s are away on Sunday against Thatto Heath Crusaders in the league.
Leigh Miners Ladies travel to Yorkshire on Sunday to take on Selby Warriors in the league.