Rugby League


5 May 2023

Midweek NCL - Thatto Heath Crusaders get the better of Leigh Miners Rangers

Midweek NCL - Thatto Heath Crusaders get the better of Leigh Miners Rangers

Thatto Heath Crusaders emerged victorious at Twist Lane as they withstood a comeback from Leigh Miners Rangers before two tries in the last 17 minutes tipped the game back in their favour.

Early on the hosts coughed up possession and Thatto drove within range before Josh Crehan went in from dummy half. It was too wide for Lewis Fairhurst to convert.

Miners Rangers were their own worst enemies when a lapse in discipline cost them a couple of set restarts and a third penalty in three minutes saw Joe Connor sin-binned for slowing the play-the-ball. 

Thatto struck almost immediately as Crehan, Adam Carr and Ryan Houghton linked for Lewis Fairhurst to score and convert the try to make it 0-10.

Miners Rangers began to link things together and stretched the visitors' line a number of times, but each time their communication snuffed out the danger. 

Next came the sort of try you can wait many years to see as Miners Lee Hudson put up a decent kick, which bounced off the posts ahead of Fairhurst. The Thatto fullback proved elusive to weave to halfway before linking with centre Dave Pike for a stunning Crusaders try on the half-hour. Fairhurst goaled to open a 0-16 advantage that went to the break.

Three minutes into the new half, the hosts attacked with a newfound enthusiasm as Jack Hamer, Lee Hudson and Marco Williamson all combined for Sam Pilkington to dive acrobatically into the corner for their first points.

Things looked to be swinging in Miners Rangers favour when a high tackle from Connor Dutton brought the Thatto man a yellow card after 46 minutes.

Eight minutes later Miners were over the line again thanks to Hamer's alertness around dummy-half and Pilkington's goal closed the deficit to six points. 

Thatto defended superbly for much of the next ten minutes, frustrating their hosts, and momentum changed when Jack Jones struck a 40/20 and the Crusaders scored on the resulting set - Fairhurst squeezing through for his second try. 

From the restart, Callum Disley won the ball back for Leigh Miners Rangers although more excellent defence somehow stopped Harvey Gotts from grounding under the posts. High-quality tackles and efforts kept the hosts at bay before a brilliant counter-attack before the end brought a fifth Thatto Heath try. Connor Dwyer worked his way past the otherwise impressive Tom Burnett and fed the ball inside for Houghton to dash to the posts. Fairhurst added his third goal to complete the 26-10 success. 

There is a full programme of fixtures this weekend across the divisions as follows:

FRI 5TH MAY 2023
Division One

  • Thornhill Trojans v Oulton Raiders

SAT 6TH MAY 2023
Premier Division

  • Hull Dockers v Lock Lane
  • Hunslet ARLFC v Siddal
  • Kells v Wigan St Patricks
  • Wath Brow Hornets v Rochdale Mayfield
  • West Hull v York Acorn

Division One

  • Ince Rose Bridge v Egremont Rangers
  • Skirlaugh v Featherstone Lions
  • Stanningley v Clock Face Miners
  • West Bowling v Heworth

Division Two

  • Woolston Rovers v Milford
  • Wigan St Judes v Saddleworth Rangers
  • Waterhead Warriors v Barrow Island
  • Dewsbury Moor Maroons v Shaw Cross Sharks
  • East Leeds v Dewsbury Celtic
  • Normanton Knights v Myton Warriors

Division Three

  • Bentley v Seaton Rangers
  • Beverley v Hensingham
  • Drighlington v Oldham St Annes
  • Leigh East v Ellenborough Rangers
  • Eastmoor Dragons v Millom

By Dave Parkinson