Miners Rangers epic Challenge Cup adventure came to an end with a valiant effort against a strong York side at the Sports Village. In front of what was a record crowd for a Miners Challenge Cup game at the new stadium of 1,191, Miners battled hard but the heavy artillery and clinical attacking prowess of the reigning League One champions proved too much as York eased through to the sixth round. However it was club history for the Miners side, who now return to league duties buoyed by their efforts and the support generated during their cup run.
After the amateurs had opened positively York rallied and broke the deadlock when Ben Dent went over out wide, adding the extras himself. Tries two and three followed all too rapidly, the first after a calamitous bounce of the ball saw Pat Smith’s kick deceive the Miners defence and sit up perfectly for Nev Morrison to storm in, then Kris Brining turned a seeming cul-de-sac into a route to the try line, referee Gareth Hewer belatedly ruling that he had reached the whitewash under the posts.
That scoring burst appeared to have put Miners on the back foot but they stormed back out of the doldrums first when quick handling right put Harry Gagen over at the corner then following a sterling Brad Hargreaves break Scott O’Brien stepped his way in from close range, Jonny Youds goaling to put his team to within eight points. But Miners couldn’t hold out to the interval and York reasserted their advantage with two tries before the break, Brining forcing his way over for his second and then Jonny Presley with neat footwork and a burst of pace to score from thirty metres out.
Miners had half chances at the start of the second half but the try they needed to reinvigorate themselves wouldn’t come as errors crept into their attacking play. Defensively they were resolute though, the third quarter seeing York limited to just one further try as Brining completed his hat-trick. Miners continued to press hard with Gagen and Tommy Parkinson making breaks but the chances narrowly missed, and another error was punished by Adam Dent’s try before Adam Thomason powered over out wide for the hosts’ final try. A late try from Ed Smith gave York the final word but this had been a great effort and a fine cup campaign for the history-making Miners. Shaun Dowie was named man of the match by the sponsors the McGuinness family, the trophy awarded in memory of the late Miners’ favourite Peter McGuinness, with the young Australian typifying the team’s commitment with his tenacious play, airborne tackles and attacking threat.