Miners picked up a fourth league win with some quality finishing to see off a determined East Hull side. That this proved to be Miners’ toughest Twist Lane assignment of the season so far was credit to a resilient Easts who arrived with a largely new-look side but who impressed with their quality as the led at the break and then trailed by just eight points with ten minutes remaining before Miners sealed victory with Sean Pendlebury completing his four try haul.
Miners were without the injured Ross Bradley and were forced into further rejigging early in proceedings as Jason O’Brien went off after tripping awkwardly inside two minutes. John Lloyd came in for a debut whilst the returning Jonny Youds also featured after re-joining from Whitehaven. Miners had the first chance as Adam Thomason ran the perfect angle onto Tom Farrimond’s pass and sliced through only for his scoring pass to find Hull rather than Leigh hands, Liam Reid mopping up the danger. Reprieved Easts went downfield and scored after a period of strong pressure on the Miners’ line, the breakthrough a slightly soft one from the home perspective as hooker Matt Brooks took a quick tap penalty and dived over the line, Carl Puckering goaling.
It took Miners ten minutes to respond and when they did it was a worthy score, Scott O’Brien sending Thomason breaking clear and then finding Martin Gray in support before Youds finished off. The Leigh side took the lead when Youds fielded Scott Partis’ kick inside his own twenty and then broke through, finding Lee Gittins in support before Pendlebury finished off with real pace from half way, O’Brien goaling. The lead could have been extended further as Miners again broke down the right, Gray’s final ball inside to Martin Lewis being ruled a forward pass. Instead it was Easts with the lead at the break, Partis hoisting the bomb on the last and as the Miners defence stood off, Jamie Edwards gathered to dive over the line, Puckering’s goal nudging the Humbersiders ahead. Indeed it could have been worse for Miners as Matt Spenceley broke down the middle off Danny Bell’s pass, breaking a couple of tackles but eventually hauled down just short and ruled to have grounded following a double-movement.
That was a bit of a let-off for Miners and they roared out of the blocks in the second half as three tries in ten minutes had the match turned on its head. The first came when Pendlebury was set free on half-way and the league’s top tryscorer showed his pace to streak down the left wing. Some more sparkling rugby involving Pendlebury and Liam Coleman put Gittins over the line to put Miners two scores clear and the purple patch was concluded when some improvised play ended with Joe Harrison being knocked down by the tackle but with the presence of mind to scramble over the line and put his side 24-12 ahead.
This wasn’t a decisive lead though and with twenty minutes remaining Easts were right back in the hunt. A Puckering kick bounced between the defenders and back into the hands of Stuart Coates who dived over to reduce the gap to eight points, and with the old warhorse Lee Brown leading the charge Easts certainly had their chances but Miners held firm and finally sealed the game with two more tries in the closing stages. The first was the pick of a high-class bunch, Youds fielding a kick inside his own half and throwing the wide pass to Pendlebury who tore through the defensive line and then stitched Spenceley up with the dummy to cut inside the fullback for a tremendous effort. The Miners man had his fourth at the death as he slipped in at the corner from another Youds pass.
Miners – Sean Pendlebury, Jason O’Brien, Lee Gittins, Jonny Youds, Martin Gray, Martin Lewis, Scott O’Brien, Kevin Howells, Tom Farrimond, Darryl Kay, Adam Thomason, Shaun Marsh, Danny Jones Substitutes – Joe Harrison, Liam Coleman, Craig Connor, John Lloyd
Tries – Youds (17), Pendlebury (21, 43, 72, 80), Gittins (46). Harrison (53)
Goals – S O’Brien 3
MoM – Sean Pendlebury
Easts – Matt Spenceley, Jamie Edwards, Aaron Pickering, Stuart Coates, Sam Bassa, Carl Puckering, Scott Partis, Lee Brown, Matt Brooks, Chris Lythe, Liam Reid, Dale Blakeley, Craig Murray Substitutes – Chris Spenceley, Lee Stephenson, Danny Bell, Lee Steward
Tries – Brooks (8), Edwards (31), Coates (62)
Goals – Puckering 2
MoM – Liam Reid
Referee – Andy Bentham