Siddal bounced back from the previous week’s controversial cup exit at Egremont with a solid Conference Premier Division performance at struggling Saddleworth.
The hosts opened the scoring in the first set of the game. A centre made a fine break from half-way and drew Siddal fullback Gareth Blackburn, who provided a simple pass for his supporting winger to touch down.
The conversion attempt was surprisingly put wide and from that point Siddal dominated the remainder of the half.
In the 10th minute winger Stephen Hope scooped up a loose ball deep in Siddal territory and raced 50 metres before being hauled down. Siddal had the momentum though and on the last play of the set half-back Shaun Garrod put in a great grubber kick that bounced nicely for his centre Richard Lopag to run onto and touch down. Blackburn’s added the goal via a post.
Saddleworth enjoyed a spell of pressure on the Siddal line but the defence held firm and they capitalised by increasing their lead in the 18th minute.
Garrod again was the creator, running across the Saddleworth defensive line and picking out Blackburn with the key pass. The latter ran through a huge gap to score close to the posts. He also added the goal for a 10-4 lead.
Siddal were beginning to get on top now and their midfield defence, led by Luke Garnett, Nick Smith and Danny Williams, was wrapping up any threat from Saddleworth.
Following further pressure on the home line Oliver Marns managed to wriggle free from a two man tackle to score and Blackburn goaled again.
As the half hour point approached Garrod once more ran at the Saddleworth defence and slipped a great short pass to Gareth English who shot through the gap. He drew the fullback and passed inside to the supporting Garnett who scored under the posts. Blackburn added an easy goal to take Siddal out to a commanding 22-4 lead.
Heading up to half time Siddal looked as though they would increase their lead even further. Garrod once more supplied the pass, this time to Marns about 40 metres out, and the ex-Halifax winger tried to turn the clock back as he raced for the corner but even though he got the ball down right the linesman indicated his foot had just shaved the line in goal and disallowed the try.
Saddleworth needed the first score after half time if they were going to have any chance of getting back into the game. On 43 minutes they almost achieved this but their centre failed to collect a high ball with the line begging. Saddleworth’s cause wasn’t helped a couple of minutes later when one of their props was dismissed for foul play on Siddal’s Hope.
Whilst the home side were busy arguing about the decision with the referee, Siddal drove on through Danny Keane and Smith which laid the platform and space for Garrod to weave his magic again and with several runners this time he picked out Marns who ran through a static defence to touch down next to the posts. Blackburn goaled to increase Siddal’s lead to 28-4 after 48 minutes.
Play deteriorated a little as Saddleworth continued to focus their anger on the referee and with the game slipping away their indiscipline dragged the quality of the game down a level.
Siddal couldn’t capitalise, though, and on the hour mark some poor defence close to their own line allowed Saddleworth to score a converted try to reduce the arrears to 18.
Three converted tries, though, was way beyond Saddleworth’s capability and Siddal finished the game off with two further tries.
On 70 minutes Danny Williams ran strongly into three Saddleworth defenders and wrestled his way out of their grip to just manage to reach over the line.
Blackburn added another two points and then the game ended with winger Emmerson Newburn collecting a spilt pass on Siddal’s own try line and racing the best part of 90 metres to score.
Garrod was outstanding on the day, but other stand out performers for Siddal were Garnett, Marns and the evergreen Smith.
Division Two: Elland 40 Eastmoor Dragons 6, Shaw Cross Sharks 42 Ovenden 10.