Wed 9 Aug 2017 | National Conference League Division 2 | Away
Saddleworth Rangers 48
Leigh East 4
A powerful performance from the hosts saw them account for a spirited East in this rearranged National Conference League Two game on Wednesday evening.
Having accomodated East with a midweek game earlier in the season, Saddleworth were indebted to East in the return.
It was a swift start for the hosts with loose forward Gareth Morgan scoring after four minutes. Stand-off Ben Whitehead added the first of three goals and it was 6-0. East pressed for a short time themselves before the influential Whitehead scored the first of a personal hat-trick after 16 minutes. He also goaled to open a 12-0 lead.
The visitors hit back with the likes of Adam Wilkes and player-coach Martin Roden helping them move within striking distance before Andrew Ball, now a few games back from a serious knee injury, slipped over from dummy half. Thomas Worthington couldn't goal from wide out but East were well worth the score and trailed 12-4 after 32 minutes.
Crucially Rangers swept over for two tries before the break on the back of excellent kicking by veteran halfback Mick Coates. Whitehead nabbed a score after bouncing aside a couple of tackles before hooker Josh Bradbury also scored the first of his brace. Whitehead kicked his third goal and all of a sudden the game had gone from competitive to a 22-4 lead for the hosts.
Three tries in the first fourteen minutes of the second half made sure of the points for Saddleworth. Substitute Sam Wilson opened second half scoring after 43 minutes before winger Ryan Gordon got in at the edge after some excellent movement. When Whitehead crashed through for his third and Josh Bradbury goaled, it was 36-4 and East were staring down the barrel of a big defeat, but to their credit, they responded gamely. Wilkes in particular took the game to the hosts, recieving support from the likes of Josh Adudwumaa and Jordan Hellam.
Sadly there was to be no further score from East, but they restricted the hosts to just two further tries through Josh and Jack Bradley with Josh finishing the game with a three goal haul.