National Conference League champions Siddal fell to their second defeat of the season when they lost 16-6 at second placed Thatto Heath yesterday.
With several key players missing, Siddal couldn’t produce their usual fluent attacking play despite a decent amount of possession near the Thatto line.
Siddal did take the lead in the 10th minute as the returning Canaan Smithies crashed under the posts off a flat pass by Craig Sanderson, another player returning after a long absence. Joe Martin added the conversion to push Siddal into a 6-0 lead.
That was about as good as it got for Siddal, who couldn’t capitalise when Heath’s Matty Norton was sent to the sin bin for foul play in the 20th minute.
The St Helens side drew level on the half hour mark. A Thatto attack looked to have petered out as the ball went to ground but Siddal defenders just watched as the ball was dribbled over the try line and big second row Jamie Tracey applied the finishing touch.
Fullback Dan Birkett added the two points plus penalty goals in the 35th and 38th minuted to stretch Thatto’s lead to 10-6 at half time.
Within two minutes of the restart Thatto had increased their lead. The ball was moved to the left through several pairs of hands and left wing Nial Allen took the final pass and scored in the corner.
Birkett added a great touchline conversion and surprisingly that was the end of the scoring.
Siddal did think they had reduced the deficit on 67 minutes when debutant Rhys Wilkinson got the ball over the line wide on Siddal’s left but the touch judge ruled an earlier pass forward.
The visitors never really threatened after that as Thatto saw the game out and in so doing reducing Siddal’s lead at the top of the Premier Division to just three points with four games to play.
Iain Davies, Ross White, Canaan Smithies and debutant Wilkinson were best for Siddal in a rare disappointing performance.