Kells  26
Leigh Miners Rangers 12

MINERS Rangers exited the Challenge Cup at the second round stage in a windswept tie against Cumbrian side Kells.

When the draw was made it already appeared a tough tie for the Leigh side, but once the venue had changed from Kells’ usual pitch to their infamous undulating Haig Pit Field during a gale roaring in off the nearby Irish Sea, then the ingredients for a difficult afternoon were well in place.

When Kells raced into a 12-0 lead inside 10 minutes those fears appeared justified, with hooker Troy Armstrong opening the scoring when wrestling his way over from acting half.

The second followed when the Cumbrians forced a repeat set near the Miners line and David Lowery sent fellow front-row Lewis White charging between the posts, Ross Gainford adding both conversions.

That sparked Miners into their best spell of the game, with Kieron Eccleston almost putting Shaun MacDonald through a gap before Shaun Dowie had a try claim chalked off when he was held up short.

Inevitably though Kells scored the next try to puncture Miners’ comeback hopes, a bomb on the last spiralled awkwardly in the wind as it bounced in-goal and sat up kindly for Gainford to score, before adding the extras himself.

Before the break Miners gave themselves a slender lifeline, as young Deacon Monks marked his first team debut with a try, finishing off in the corner from Scott O’Brien and MacDonald’s passing.

Eccleston added an excellent conversion.

Kells finally snuffed out any prospects of a comeback with two tries around the hour mark, the first when Jordan Fisher broke from half way and put Tyrone Dalton over the line and the second when the Cumbrians kept the ball alive on the last for Paul Lowery to step his way over The Miners defence had to scramble hard to prevent further tries before ending the game with a consolation try after O’Brien’s kick to the in-goal was grounded by Tom Farrimond, Eccleston adding the extras.

On Saturday the first team travel to Thatto Heath for the season opener in the National Conference League, with the under 18s hosting Leigh East in the BARLA National Cup quarter final on the Sunday, 1pm kick off at Twist Lane.