Leigh Miners take on Wigan St Judes on Saturday in Round 24 of the NCL Kingstone Press Cider Premier Division, Kick off 2-30pm at Twist Lane.
Miners go into Saturdays derby game on the back of a 25-14 home defeat against Wath Brow Hornets, that defeat being the first at Twist Lane this year in the league and hopefully it will be the last as Miners look to get back on track this week to keep themselves well in the playoff mix. The lads know they are going to have to respect the ball much better this week, have better communication, be alot more creative and have much better execution in their plays after none of the above was nowhere near good enough against a very good Wath Brow side who produced an excellent performance from start to finish to win at Twist Lane, On last weeks game young back rower Tommy Parkinson said “I thought Wath Brow were possibly, the best team we have played. I felt that we never really had control of the game, at any stage and they played a smarter game than we did. When we had good field position, we dropped too much ball which meant we was defending a lot. This is something you can’t afford to do against a big mobile pack like theirs”.
On facing his old club for the first time Tommy added “This is one of the fixtures I’ve least been looking forward to!, after spending 18 years there, I face the club where I grew up and have many friends. It’s going to be strange going head to head with some of my best mates. But on Saturday the main job is to get the two points and keep pushing for the play offs. Even though they’re relegated, its a local derby and anything can happen. I’m sure Alan the St Judes coach, will have them fired up. We’ve been working hard in practice to put right what we did wrong last week. I’m confident if we approach the game with the correct attitude, we will end the game with two points”.
Coaches Allan Coleman and Paul Whitworth will make four changes to the side from last week, with Darryl Appleby and Sean MacDonald dropping down to the second team along with Chris Bower and Dave Rowlands who miss out due to work and family respectively. Coming into the side are Matt Astley, Shaun Dowie. Ellis Grimes and Danny Jackson.
Speaking about last weeks defeat against Wath Brow, coach Paul Whitworth said “We weren’t good enough for long periods of that game, That’s not to say our effort wasn’t good enough, we we’re dogged in defence but found ourselves bringing the ball back from yardage too much but sometimes that wasn’t from errors but from Wath Brows excellent kicking game. There was a point in the second half where we was just over one score away from them and the pressure was mounting but our execution let us down and within a minute or two Fran King put a great play on us and it sealed the game for them. We had talked about how good their completion was and we had to match that. We need to bring a bit more of the good stuff we do in training into Saturday”.
Looking ahead to the St Judes game Whitworth added “This has been a tough year for them but you have to admire how they have stuck to the task and turned a team out week in week out. We all know that each game in this league is tough and we expect nothing less on Saturday. We will be looking to improve on certain areas highlighted in last weeks game and we aim to be at our best. At end of the day its a Leigh v Wigan derby”.
Wigan St Judes make the short trip across the borough with nothing but pride to play for after they was relegated from the top flight a couple of weeks ago with only two wins to their name all year against West Hull and Hunslet Warriors. The Parsons Meadow have struggled in there return to the top flight this year but will see a local derby the perfect chance to end their campaign with something to cheer about.
Leigh Miners 2nd team are away again on Saturday for the second week running at Latchford Albion, this time playing in the Division Two top four playoff semi final. If Miners are victorious they will play the winner of Wigan St Pats and Culcheth Eagles who contest the other semi final.
Leigh Miners Ladies are away on Sunday against Wigan St Pats in the Division One Playoffs Final Eliminator, Kick off 2-30pm at Clarington Park. The winner will play Stanningley in the Grand Final.