Leigh Miners 17 Siddal 16
Siddal got their Conference Premier season underway with a hard-fought last-gasp defeat over Leigh Miners.
If every other game this season offers as many thrills and spills as this one then regulars at the NCL grounds will be in for a treat as two well-matched sides served up a cracker.
The last two occasions when these two sides have met on the opening day, the winners have gone on to win the league and both will have realistic aspirations of that aim on this showing, with Miners just edging home.
In the end Jonny Youds’ penalty three minutes from time sealed matters, just moments after a similar effort from Gareth Blackburn appeared to have given Siddal the points. Siddal had ex-Huddersfield man Richard Lopag and hulking second row Danny Williams in strong form to push Miners all the way. The visitors had a poor start, Ross Bradley kicking through and regathering from Gareth Blackburn’s spillage to score the opener on seven minutes. However, Siddal were swiftly level, dangerman Shaun Garrod kicking to the right wing and Emerson Newburn having space to score out wide.
Within six minutes Siddal were ahead, Garrod dummying and Craig Sanderson supporting to float the pass out wide for Blackburn to score at the corner, the winger also adding the extras.
Siddal showed some good team play with loose forward Ross Greenwood and debutant centre Jabe Dennis pressing the Miners line.
Within five minutes of the restart Miners were level. Jimmy Muir was an influential presence and he stormed in from acting half for Youds to level with the kick.
Miners pounded the Siddal line as the Chevinedgers struggled to get out of their own half and after Youds just failed to gather Coleman’s offload the home side were back ahead, Muir putting Martin Lewis crashing in to score out wide.
Siddal showed character and they were back on terms when Nick Smith went in out wide from another slick Sanderson pass.
Forwards Mark Boothroyd and Luke Garnett both put in a shift in attack and defence and with seven minutes to go Coleman floated a field goal over to nudge Miners back ahead.
Straight from the restart Miners lost possession and then gave away a penalty which Blackburn nailed to put the visitors ahead. But with time ticking Miners mounted a fine late response, winning a penalty with Lopag sin-binned and Youds landing the kick from 40 metres out to win the game.