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Leigh Miners 16 v 6 Milford Marlins

Leigh Miners booked themselves a place in the third round of the Tetleys Challenge Cup after a hard fought 16-6 victory against Milford Marlins on a damp afternoon at Twist Lane, with the playing conditions slippery underfoot it was always going to be a game for the forwards and for the full eighty minutes both teams where firing into each other in what was a good old fashioned cup tie. It took a good twenty minutes for the first points to be scored and they went the way of the home side after some good build up play centre John Woods went over in the left corner to give Miners a 4-0 lead. Miners increased their lead on the half hour mark when Martin Lewis went charging over for the second week running, Jonny Youds converting to give the score 10-0. Milford where reduced to twelve men just before the break when they had a player sin binned for a late challenge on Scott O'Brien.

Miners made a great start to the second half forcing Milford into an error from the restart, from the scrum attacking the Marlins line Lee Gittins went through a gap to score on the left, Youds converting to put Miners 16-0 up. Milford battled hard to try and get back into the tie but they were unable to break down a hungry Miners defence who were solid throughout and when in attack played the conditions well knocking out there sets and getting to the kick to keep the visitors under pressure returning the ball from their own half. Miners only disappointment was when they conceded late on after losing possession Milford kicked down field to go over to make the final score 16-6.

The draw for the third round will be made on Wednesday in Oxford.

Next week Miners are away to Egremont Rangers in the League.

Miners team - Jonny Youds, Andrew Groves, John Woods, Martin Lewis, Ryan Monaghan, Adam Thomason, Scott O'Brien, Kev Howells, Danny Jones, Darryl Kay, Ross Bradley, Lee Gittins, Danny Jackson, SUBS = Tom Farrimond, Jimmy Muir, Jonny Carroll, Sean McDonald

Miners MOM - Lee Gittins

First team Highlights

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I only hope Peterlee can make it through the season. Many clubs who were elevated above their playing abilities fell by the wayside before the season ended in the old Conference National, Liverpool, Carlisle & Manchester to name but a few. Players will simply find an easier way to spend their Saturday afternoons if they get a drubbing each week. As posted above the vetting process possibly needs to concentrate more on the strength of the squad available when expanding out of the heartlands.

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Coventry had been playing at the top summer level for a while and so were a known quantity against the likes of Featherstone Lions, Underbank, Woolston, Kippax etc.

I wonder if Peterlee had hoped to strengthen over the winter? We are only 2 games in, and teams can learn as they go on. Bristol Sonics took some pastings at the start of the last summer season (their first at that level) but by the end had beaten the champions.

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Coventry had been playing at the top summer level for a while and so were a known quantity against the likes of Featherstone Lions, Underbank, Woolston, Kippax etc.

It's not quite as simple as that. Coventry were ok last year and on the basis of our performance we had a choice to make.

With the division we were in folding, the choice was step down a level or step up a level.

We chose the latter and then were hit by a big loss of players. 3 lads left to go to Australia and they were amongst our best players. Of those that were left no fewer than 9 were offered the chance to try thir luck in CC1.

That's 12 of our best players gone!

At each game we have played this season we have had only 3 old faces in the squad

Fortunately Boomer and Tom have recruited really well and I firmly believe that we actually have a better team than we had last year.

Being a new squad we are still learning how to play together. The Bears team is very much a work in progress that will improve match by match.

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Rugby League World - April 2017

League Express - Mon 10th April 2017