10 Jun 2018 in News
LEIGH EAST 16
SADDLEWORTH RANGERS 24
Following a blow out score a few days earlier, East returned hom on Thursday night to take on Saddleworth Rangers. The hosts gave one of their best performances of the season but like has happened several times this season, a winning position was turned in the last few minutes.
Saddleworth made a great start to the game with tries through prop forward Tom Dransfield and winger Daniel Bowker. Josh Bradbury also added a goal to make sure Rangers led 10-0 after ten minutes. The visitors remained dominant but East got their defence in order, resisting a number of raids on their own line.
After 22 minutes Leigh East hit back in superb style. Prop Jamie Waters was stopped on the line and the ball came right quickly through Jordan Hellam, Harvey Massey and Ryan Gray before Nathan Gaskell handed on for Josh Swift to go in at the corner. A brilliant conversion from Hellam made it 6-10. Hellam was at the hub of East's next try when just before half-time he supported veteran Craig Wingfield and turned the ball right for Adam Holland to spin over at the side of the posts. A second Hellam goal handed East a narrow 12-10 advantage at the break.
The second half started as a tense affair with the deadlock eventually broken by Saddleworth. Second row Thomas Lees stole the ball one-on-one and passed for Ethan Langhorn to score. The try was too far out for Bradbury to convert but the visitors led 14-12 after 65 minutes.
Then five minutes later, Leigh East thought they had struck the telling blow. Adam Holland went down the blindside for Harvey Massey and Zac Nicholls to combine. A well timed ball from Nicholls sent Tom Worthington breaking clear and Swift was at his shoulder to finish and collect his second try. Hellam couldn't convert but East led 16-14.
Saddleworth then claimed two late tries. First Ryan Maneely picked his way through from twenty metres. This was something of a controversial score as he appeared to be stopped short of the line. Adam Wilkes was red carded in the aftermath. Bradbury added his second goal to make it 14-20 to Saddleworth but there was more late drama when Jordan Hellam was tackled on the line. Saddleworth came away from their line with purpose with only last ditch tackling denying Langhorn following a good line break from Gareth Morgan. Harry Godfrey sealed the win from dummy half with Saddleworth's fifth score to send East bottom of the table.