Leigh Miners attentions turn to the Conference Challenge Trophy on Saturday, when they welcome NCL Division Two outfit Underbank Rangers from Huddersfield to Twist Lane in the first round, Kick off 2-30pm.
Miners made it four wins from four last weekend in the league, moving them to the top of the table with two games in hand. The win against Wath Brow though being far from convincing with it being far to scrappy, overplaying at times which led to poor execution and frustration against a determined Brow side. The most important thing though was picking up another two points, and the lads knowing that if they are to stay at the top of the league and progress in the Challenge Trophy, they will need to play much better in the coming weeks.
Coaches Allan Coleman & Paul Whitworth will have props Matt Astley (away for the weekend) and Chris Bowers (injured) unavailable for Saturday’s game from last week’s team. Shaun Dowie, Tom Farrimond, Ellis Grimes, Andrew Groves, Jack Probert and Jonny Youds all come back into contention for a place in the seventeen to leave Coleman & Whitworth with a near fully fit squad to choose from.
On last week’s win against Wath Brow, coach Paul Whitworth said “Overall it was a workman-like performance, We were missing a few key players and had some re-shuffling to contend with.
“Its also a difficult fixture after playing a pro side but we had enough energy on the pitch to get the result. We lost our way a little at times, got over excited and tried to go for points when we hadn’t built enough pressure but we were dominant and the result never looked in doubt.
With Allan Coleman adding “I thought we started really well, our completion rate was very high and we made them work really hard on there goal line defence.”
“But our final finish was not what we would like it to be, so we will work hard this week to correct it. It was always going to be tough after a short turnaround from the York game, so we will take the win.”
Looking ahead to the visit of Underbank, Whitworth added “We’ve obviously kept an eye on their results and selections over the last few weeks and they seem to have made quite a few changes to personnel and improved in the build up. They will come here with a cup final attitude and we need to be organised and patient enough to deal with that.”
“We’ll have players back available and maybe give one or two who have performed in the reserves the opportunity they deserve. We have a good squad and players now need to be looking over their shoulder as competition has never been as high.”
With Coleman Commenting “It’s the cup this weekend and we want to do well in this competition we have good history with it.”
“Underbank are a bit of a surprise to us but we have done our homework on them, we know its going to be a tough game. I think we have to worry about our own game and get that right, if we do we will be a very tough side to beat.”
“I would also like to wish Tony Doyle Mick Blakely and Darryl Appleby all the best next week on tour, well done fellas, enjoy and do the club proud.”
Underbank Rangers won promotion from Division Three last season, beating Crosfields 20-6 in the playoff final. This year they have made a steady enough start in Division Two, winning three and losing three from their opening six matches to leave them in fifth position. The Huddersfield outfit have done well in previous years against higher league opposition in the Challenge Trophy, and with coming to Twist Lane on the back of a 52-4 home victory against Askam they will be confident of causing a cup upset.
Leigh Miners 2nd team and Ladies have a free weekend due to the bank holiday.
The u18s are away on Sunday against Rochdale Mayfield in the league.