Strong finish brings rewards

Leigh East 8

Siddal 28

Siddal progressed into the third round of the BARLA National Cup following a fine performance on the 3G pitch at Leigh East and gaining their first win on their hosts’ patch for a number of years.

Leigh East opened the scoring with their first attack. Siddal failed to defend a high bomb on the last tackle and Leigh grounded the ball over the try line, the simple conversion putting the hosts 6-0 in front.

Siddal pressed from the restart and enjoyed a good deal of possession and territory, prompted by some neat work at dummy half by Craig Sanderson. Props Scott Law and Gareth English put in some huge hits in defence and the back three of Gareth Blackburn, Emerson Newburn and debutant Dom Booth returned the ball well as Leigh resorted to kicking from deep.

Siddal finally drew level after 17 minutes when Luke Simeunovich and Nick Smith took their side toward the posts. With the Leigh defence on the back foot, the ball was transferred quickly through several pairs of hands to scrum half Steve Illingworth who threw a great wide pass to wing Newburn to score in the corner. Blackburn added a great conversion.

Siddal debutant Ross Coates caught the eye with an excellent tackle and as half time approached Newburn and Blackburn were both tackled in goal, forcing two goal-line drop outs before a dubious penalty was awarded to Leigh East which was duly converted for an 8-6 half-time lead.

Siddal rallied and went in front for the first time on 47 minutes. Half back Chris Brook placed a fine grubber through the defensive line where the ball was fumbled by an Easts defender and rebounded into the hands of the onrushing Matty Batley who touched down.

Leigh threw the ball around and Siddal had to scramble to keep their line intact, Coates and Newburn keeping Easts at bay while bench players Liam Green, debutant Chris Geoghan and Danny Williams worked overtime in the centre of the field.

Siddal regained the initiative and the all important field position. Smith made a break down the left and fed the supporting Brook who sidestepped two defenders for a great try. Blackburn added the goal to increase the lead.

Leigh tried a short kick off but Siddal regained possession. Hooker Simeon Hoyle made a 30 metre bust up the centre and slipped a great reverse pass out to Blackburn who outpaced the tiring Leigh defence. Blackburn’s goal increased the lead to 22-8.

Hoyle burst through again but was hauled down 15 metres short. Andrew Fox continued the attack and fed the supporting Geoghan to touch down on his debut close to the posts, Blackburn adding the final goal.