Leigh Miners return to league action on Saturday afternoon when they take on Wath Brow Hornets in Round 6 of the NCL Kingstone Press Cider Premier Division, Kick off 2-30pm at Twist Lane.
Miners go into the game having had their excellent Ladbrokes Challenge Cup adventure ended last Sunday, losing 44-14 against Championship One side York City Knights. The team selected giving a good account of themselves and despite conceding three or four soft tries by their standards, they worked tirelessly in defence with the speed of the game being much quicker than they are use to in the NCL. With ball in hand whilst not at their best, Miners caused plenty of problems on the York edges to score three well worked tries, and it could have been more if the final pass had stuck on occasions.
The whole cup experience has been beneficial for everyone involved at the club, off the field being rewarded financially as well as the club profile being raised massively, being mentioned on local and national radio as well as having a full page spread in The Independent newspaper. On the field even though Miners didn’t get the result they wanted, a lot of positives can be taken out of the game which will stand them in good stead for the future.
The league now takes full focus this week with it being a stop start affair so far, winning three from three is the best start for a number of years from a Miners side. This weeks visit of Wath Brow could prove just as tough as last week, with the Cumbrians still without out a league win this year and will be desperate to get off the mark sooner, rather than later. The players know it will be a very hard battle, but it’s a battle they are looking forward to as they look to pick up another two points, to help them kick on in the league over the coming weeks.
Coaches Allan Coleman & Paul Whitworth make four changes from the side that took on York last weekend, with Chris Bowers, Jimmy Muir, Mark Nicholson and Bud Skinkis coming in for Ellis Grimes, Shaun Dowie (away for the weekend), Jack Probert and Jonny Youds (both injured).
Speaking about last Sunday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup defeat, coach Paul Whitworth said “We were disappointed at the end of the game, I think more than anything we felt we’d maybe let the phenomenal support that had got behind us down.”
“Maybe we didn’t give the best performance that we know we have in ourselves, but as coaches we are really proud of how the squad performed as a group.”
“We knew we needed to be around 95% and York around 60% and on the day that was reversed. When we made a positive score we almost immediatley gave them points back and we just couldn’t build enough pressure on them.”
“York were clinical and punished us, But it was a great experience to be involved in, and the initial disappointment we felt probably tells you how far we’ve come as group.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s visit of Wath Brow, Whitworth added “Wath Brow have made a poor start but it won’t last for long, they will see no better time to come to Twist Lane and get their league campaign back on track.”
“We hear they have some of their squad back in for this game so as usual in the NCL we will have to be at our best to get the points.”
Wath Brow Hornets go into Saturday’s clash on the back of three successive league defeats to leave them at the bottom of the table. The Brow who have appeared in the last three Grand Final’s winning the first of them three in 2012 have had to do it tough so far this season with a number of key personnel missing, none more so than England International and last years NCL Player of the Year Fran King.
Ian Rooney’s men have a decent record at Twist Lane in the summer era and with a few players expected to return to the side this week, the Cleator Moor outfit will be looking to kick start their season with a victory over a Miners side who are the only side in the Premier Division with a 100% record.
Leigh Miners 2nd team are away at Widnes Tigers on Saturday in the league. The two teams should have met at Twist Lane last weekend in the NWML Trophy but was postponed with Widnes Tigers unable to raise a side.
The u18s are away on Sunday against Clock Face in the league, after two big home wins in recent weeks they will be looking for another two points to strengthen their position near the top of the table.
Leigh Miners Ladies play their first home game of the new Women’s Premier Division season on Sunday when they welcome Rochdale Hornets to Twist Lane, Kick off 12pm. The Ladies went down 36-18 last weekend in their first game away at Stanningley. The team are also on the look out for new players with training at Kings Park on Thursdays at 6-45 and Saturday mornings at 10-30.