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Rangers bow out
10:10pm Thursday 14th February 2013 in Sport
LEIGH Miners Rangers bowed out of the ACE Insurance BARLA National Cup against a spirited Methley Royals side that fielded 45-year-old former Castleford Tigers and Great Britain prop Dean Sampson.
For Miners’ first game of the season in damp and cold conditions at Sutton Park, the team was largely drawn from last term’s Alliance squad bolstered by experienced campaigners Kevin Howells, Tom Farrimond and the club’s leading try scorer of 2012 Sean Pendlebury.
Methley, hailing from the third tier of the Pennine League, arrived in mid-season form as they currently sit top of their division with former National Cup finalists Steve Scott and Andy Speake in their ranks.
The early stages proved tense and tight before Royals took a 6-0 lead.
Miners responded when substitute Jimmy Muir created space for Andrew Hodson to power over.
Methley crossed again for a 12-4 interval lead but Miners were back in the match when Muir hoisted a kick to the left wing and Pendlebury won the race to gather the ball and score.
Just as Miners were beginning to sense the game was within their grasp the Royals struck a crucial blow with six more points scored.
With seven minutes to go Pendlebury grabbed his second after Muir and Martin Gray opened up the defence to make it 18-12.
Todd Appleby made an heroic return to the field following a first half facial injury but a Methley drop goal in stoppage time confirmed for the Yorkshiremen a second round return to Manchester Road on March 2 to face new club Hilton Park, who defeated Bamber Bridge 22-20 in their first game.
Gary Fitzmartin bagged two tries, while team captain Craig Wingfield was named man of the match. Other scorers on Park’s historic day were Danny Aspden and Adam Wright, with Dale Allred converting.
Miners’ under 18s also exited the National Cup when they were beaten by Thatto Heath.