Leigh Miners Rangers 10 Wigan St Patricks 46
LEIGH Miners Rangers' unbeaten home record and two-year cup defence was ended in utterly emphatic style with a crushing defeat to Wigan St Patricks at Twist Lane.
Languishing in the lower reaches of the league, Pats turned the form book on its head with this almost error-free performance as they proved equally at home in rain and shine.
In the first half with the heavens opening the Wigan side ensured they played the game in the Miners' half, forcing the inevitable handling errors from the home side and capitalising to score, whilst with the sun on their backs in the second half they opened up with Smith and Smith – Brad and Ryan – orchestrating play to rattle up the points.
Pats were patient in the early stages, Brad Smith with two penalties the only score in the opening quarter, before they breached the try-line when Phil Glover pounced on a Miners knock-on on half way and kicking through to touch down.
The visitors extended the lead further when Brad Smith slipped through three tackles from 15 metres out to score between the posts.
Miners had barely been in the game but had a lifeline at half time as Pats spilled the ball under their own sticks, Shaun Dowie swooping in to score a try converted by Jonny Youds.
Miners needed the early try after half time if they were to turn the game around but instead it was Earl Hurst, a real handful down the left, who broke through from half way to score and effectively seal Pats' passage.
Sean MacDonald responded for Miners after Tony Doyle's kick was fielded by Tom Farrimond to put the winger over at the corner, but Pats simply stepped up through the gears.
Ryan Smith showed his class as he ghosted through from 40 metres out and three more tries in the final 10 minutes embellished the scoreline.
Brad Smith drove over from acting half for his second, Ricky Murphy pounced on Ryan Smith's kick to touch down, and Liam Gannon powered over at the corner right on the whistle to seal a comprehensive win.
The Alliance side were awarded the points against Widnes West Bank.
This Saturday the first team return to league action, 2.30pm kick off at home to Thatto Heath.
The under 18s travel to Thatto on Sunday while on Friday evening the Alliance team travel to Rylands.