Siddal face tough June

Actions from Siddal v Kells, at Chevinedge. Pictured is Gareth English
Actions from Siddal v Kells, at Chevinedge. Pictured is Gareth English

Unbeaten National Conference League leaders Siddal take a breather next weekend ahead of a crucial four-game spell in their title defence.

The Chevinedge club’s strength in depth was apparent last Saturday when they won 22-15 at Wigan St Patrick’s in spite of being without eight first teamers.

Star trio Shaun Garrod, Byron Smith and points machine Gareth Blackburn were among those missing but Siddal still won in the pouring rain thanks to two late tries.

There is just one Division Three fixture over the Bank Holiday weekend, and that doesn’t involve fellow Calderdale side Elland, who lost 60-0 at Stanningley last Saturday.

Siddal return with a crunch home game against third-placed Wath Brow Hornets, who have dropped only three points so far, on June 3.

A long trip to Kells, a Friday game at fifth-placed Rochdale Mayfield and a then a bus ride to fourth-placed West Hull completes a possible make-or-break month.

Coach Gareth Greenwood sets high standards and wasn’t impressed with the quality of rugby on show last Saturday.

Only the returning Gareth English, Joe Martin and regular first teamer Ben West caught his eye but it still turned out to be a good day for Siddal, who at least showed their battling qualities.

Those seeking evidence of any mental damage done to rivals Thatto Heath in their 34-6 mauling at Chevinedge the previous Saturday will have noted the St Helens side’s 38-24 defeat at Myton Warriors.

Wath Brow’s 18-18 home draw with Rochdale Mayfield further strengthened Siddal’s position at the top of the table.

‘Retired’ pair English and Richard Merville, Dom Boothroyd, Chris Brooke and youngster Henry Turner were among the players drafted into the team at Wigan.

Siddal trailed 14-10 at half time after tries from English and Ross White. A drop goal with 10 minutes to go gave the hosts a little more breathing space.

However, great work by big forward English enabled Joe Martin to score and Brooke’s conversion enabled the visitors to hit the front.

A further converted try, scored by back Taniela Bakoso, made sure for the visitors.

Greenwood added: “It was not quite the level of performance I expect from a Siddal first team but it was good just to get a win.”