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Thrilling victory means a great start for Rangers
12:07pm Thursday 7th March 2013 in Sport
Leigh Miners Rangers 17
MINERS Rangers got the new National Conference League season up and running with a thrilling win against a strong Siddal side.
On the previous two occasions these sides have met on the opening day of the season, the winners have gone on to win the league title.
While it is far too early to make such bold predictions, both showed their strengths in a compelling and well-matched game to suggest they both have realistic ambitions of silverware this term.
That there was so little between the teams is illustrated by the final seven minutes of a dramatic encounter as a one-point lead changed hands three times before Miners came out on top courtesy of Jonny Youds’ nerveless penalty three minutes from time, kicked from 40 metres out and hovering for what appeared an eternity before it dropped over the crossbar by a matter of inches.
Miners, who handed debuts to Andrew Groves and Shaun McDonald after both had joined from Leigh East, served notice of their intentions with a bright start as Ross Bradley touched down after following his own kick.
The visitors roared back to take a 10-4 advantage and Miners were all guns blazing at the start of the second half, with substitute Jimmy Muir having an immediate impact.
He spotted a gap from acting half back 10 metres out and stormed through to score by the posts, with Youds goaling to tie matters up.
Miners went back in front when they elected to run a kickable penalty, Martin Lewis breaking a tackle and scoring out wide for 14-10.
Having been on the back foot for most of the half Siddal demonstrated their resilience as they hit back to score on one of their rare forays to level matters going into the final 10 minutes.
A drop goal was always likely to prove decisive and impressiive stand off Coleman scraped one over the bar from 25 metres to put Miners ahead with seven minutes remaining.
Straight from the restart though the home side lost the ball, the error was compounded as dissent turned the scrum into a penalty and Siddal went back in front 16-15.
But there was one last twist in the tail.
With three minutes remaining, Miners were awarded a penalty as the touch judge spotted a forearm from Siddal’s Richard Lopag and Youds landed the decisive two points from long range.
On the same afternoon Miners’ Alliance side made a winning start with their first success over Leigh East for three years.
Two tries apiece from Scott Travis and Ryan Monaghan secured a 22-14 win at the Sports Village.
This Saturday, the first team host Milford Marlins in the Tetley's Challenge Cup, kick off 2.30pm, while the Alliance are away to Wigan St Judes.