Pre-season friendlies wind down with thrillers aplenty

Many amateur teams completed their pre-season programmes on Saturday ahead of this weekend’s opening schedule in such as the Impact Performance National Conference League, the Iggesund Cumberland League and the North West and Yorkshire Men’s Leagues.
MILLOM edged Cumbrian rivals DISTINGTON 34-32 in a remarkable game in which the visitors, for whom Lewis Whitehead scored five tries, twice rallied from 18 points adrift to within a couple of points.
The Woolybacks led 18-0 after as many minutes, through a Rio McQuiston brace and tries by Kian Macpherson and Niall Harris, with Jack Newbegin adding the first of his three conversions.
Whitehead’s hat-trick, plus goals by Scott George and Gavin Martin, got Distington back to 18-16 at the break, only for Millom to again pull away, through touchdowns by Macpherson, Harris and Hadley Thompson.
Kelvin Lynch and Whitehead (twice) led Distington’s late rally but Martin, who improved the first two efforts, was unable to add the levelling conversion of the last try.
DRIGHLINGTON beat BRIGHOUSE RANGERS 22-18 in a West Yorkshire affair, recovering from 8-0 down with a Kieron Roche brace, tries by Luke Barns and Jake Barns, and goals by Ethan McCabe (2) and Kieron Boulton. Rangers missed out despite a couple of Matty Bailey touchdowns, tries for Lee Robson and Joe Campbell, and a Karl Frankland conversion.
It was just as close in Wigan were PATS, who were never behind, accounted for JUDES 18-14, thanks to Brad Smith’s conversions of tries by Connor Taylor, Tyler Gibson and Craig Thomas. Jacob Dugdale, Reggie Matthews and Jason Holland replied for the visitors, Danny Cassidy landing one goal.
BEVERLEY, meanwhile, swept to a 42-0 success over MYTON WARRIORS in the East Riding clash, courtesy of a Jon Norman hat-trick and tries for Sam Roe, Lewis Miller, Lewis Poskitt, Kieron Sewell and Ben Clark, five of which Josh Poskitt improved.
Across the Pennines, LEIGH EAST cruised to a 40-10 win over HINDLEY, earned with two Ryan Gray tries, a try and four goals by Jordan Hellam and touchdowns by Cole Appleby, Matthew Aspinall, Allister Anderson and Lewis Else, with Adam Holland converting a couple of touchdowns. Connor Law and Anthony Madigan replied for Hindley, Chris Scarborough improving one effort.
THORNHILL started well against EAST LEEDS with a try by Joss Ratcliffe which Ryan Mitchell improved. Easts, though, blasted back against the young Trojans to win 44-14, posting a brace apiece for Miles Darwin and Josh Wood, with Adam Keedy, Nemmiam Mansam, AJ Wilson and Roy Railton also grabbing touchdowns and Aiden Robinson firing six goals. The hosts were limited to Ratcliffe’s second score and a try by hugely impressive youngster Oliver Boocock by way of response.
Chris Forster and Jake Ward claimed hat-tricks as METHLEY WARRIORS beat WYKE, who are a section higher in the Yorkshire League, 42-16, despite having Jo-Jo Connelly red-carded for an alleged high tackle. Damian Wilby also dotted down and Freddie Wright landed seven-from-seven conversions. Wyke’s Alec Williams improved two of tries by Lameq Superic, Cam Foster and Brett Grey.