Leigh Miners play their final home game of the regular season on Saturday when they take on Hull Dockers in Round 21 of the NCL Kingstone Press Cider Premier Division knowing that a victory will clinch them the 2015 League Leaders Shield, Kick off 2-30pm at Twist Lane.
The second team kick the afternoon off with a league fixture against Orrell St James, Kick off 12-30pm.
Miners kept their four point lead at the top of the table last weekend with a hard fought 20-18 win at East Leeds, the performance being far from vintage Miners in attack, but they controlled the game for large parts with the forwards setting a strong platform and despite making hard work of the game near the end when East Leeds scored two tries, the lads dug deep in the closing stages to pick up another deserved win.
This week’s game against Dockers promises to be another challenging one like they always are against the green and whites. The players know they are going to have to put in a strong performance to get the win against a side who have been a bit of a bogey side to them in the summer era, but with the prospect of wrapping up the the minor premiership as well as being the only team in the Premier Division to win every home game this year, everyone is determined to get the victory ahead of next weekends Conference Challenge Trophy Final.
Coaches Allan Coleman and Paul Whitworth are forced into making at least one change from the team that beat East Leeds last weekend with Darryl Kay missing due to a family holiday. Kay losing his ever present record for 2015 to leave second rower Tommy Parkinson as the Lone Ranger in the Miners side who as played in every game this year, which is some achievement considering the obstacles summer rugby can bring. Harry Gagen, Ellis Grimes, Mark Nicholson, Mike O’Boyle, Dave Rowlands and Adam Thomason are all available for selection this week should they be needed.
Looking back at last week’s win at East Leeds, joint coach Paul Whitworth said “We performed reasonably well but we need to do better, I thought our finishing was off and we tried to push the ball laterally too much.”
“We said we needed to adapt our game and we tried to get off the ruck at their big men but the play the ball was allowed to be so slow it made things really difficult.”
“Saying that, I thought our core players in the middle were outstanding, they worked tirelessly again and played the key part in getting the win.”
On this week’s game against Hull Dockers, Whitworth added “No doubt there is alot at stake, it’s yet another big game for us. We need to challenge each other to maintain our form and raise the levels again.”
“We set a goal to remain unbeaten at home this season and we will be focused on that. We know they will travel down strong and Dockers league position tells you they are a threat to any team in the top six.”
“We need to ensure we take control of the game rather than putting ourselves under pressure, stay calm, composed and hopefully give the club, fans and all the people who have backed the players and coaches a reward they deserve.”
“We have a final on the horizon and to be honest there has been little talk about that as each week feels like a final and as we’ve said all year we can’t afford to look any further than the game in front of us.”
“As this is the last league home game of the season I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has got behind us this season and most of all to the players for their commitment, effort and friendship. I feel very proud and privileged to have been given the opportunity to work with such a talented group who have never quit and who play the game the right way.”
“We’ve made some great memories, some said we wouldn’t!”
Hull Dockers travel to Twist Lane on the back of a heavy 48-18 defeat away at Rochdale Mayfield last weekend to leave them in fifth position on 22 points with two games remaining. Realistically Dockers best possible finish is fourth if they can pick up maximum points against Miners who they have already beaten twice this year at the Willows and St Pats who they play next weekend.