Siddal demolish main rivals

Siddal vs Thatto Heath
Gareth Blackburnr scores
Siddal vs Thatto Heath Gareth Blackburnr scores

In the midst of an election campaign, Siddal gave the politicians a lesson in how to get a message across yesterday.

A 34-6 thumping of visitors Thatto Heath Crusaders had “hands off our Conference title” written all over it.

The visitors from St Helens arrived with a perfect eight from eight record but were given a harsh reality check by Gareth Greenwood’s men.

Siddal always looked the more likely winners and after leading 14-6 at half time they scored four tries in the last 14 minutes to seriously undermine the visitors’ confidence.

Points machine Gareth Blackburn added another 22 to his tally as Siddal took over from Crusaders at the top of the Premier Division.

Greenwood was delighted with the Siddal performance and surprised by the margin of success.

“They have been hammering everybody and were the team to beat,” he said.

“I didn’t expect that, I thought it would be tight.

“They are a very big side and if they had beaten us today I think they could have gone on a long unbeaten run.”

Greenwood described his side as “unorthodox.” He admitted that limited training time meant they didn’t have the most fluent attack in the world but they still managed to score 30-plus points most games.

The reason is a rock-solid defence across the park which leads to opponents becoming frustrated and eventually shattering.

In an fairly even opening, second row Zach McComb had a try chalked off for a forward pass before Blackburn dived over wide on the left after 16 minutes. The winger added the extras.

Replacement Danny Williams was held up over the try line but Heath collared Blackburn with the ball behind his own line and drew level following the drop out, centre Matty Norton muscling his way over.

Bobbie Goulding, son of the former enigmatic Great Britain scrum half of the same name, added the conversion to make it 6-6 on 28 minutes.

Crusaders knocked on from the restart and Siddal regained the lead three minutes later, Ben Hinsley strolling through a yawning gap to the left of the posts.

Blackburn converted and stroked over a penalty before the break, Niall Allen having been denied a score by a forward pass at the other end.

Siddal, now playing their favourite way towards the road, were unable to put the game to bed in a third quarter which contained errors from both sides.

Hinsley failed to hold a high, hurried pass on the Heath try line and hooker Craig Sanderson was held up over it a few minutes later.

Siddal were turning the screw and the sin-binning of visiting centre Adam Saunders allowed the floodgates to open.

Full-back Freddie Walker was unstoppable with a low, hard plunge for the line on 67 minutes.

Blackburn converted and then got his second try wide out after Heath failed to deal with Shaun Garrod’s cross kick.

When replacement forward George Ambler powered in from short range and Blackburn converted, Siddal were 30-6 up on 77 minutes.

A minor late flare-up led to yellow cards for Siddal’s Joe Martin and Crusaders’ Jamie Tracey before Blackburn had the last word, almost turning a cartwheel in celebration as he touched down wide out.