Siddal backs cash in

Siddal v Castleford Lock Lane. Gareth Blackburn.
Siddal v Castleford Lock Lane. Gareth Blackburn.

Siddal opened up a five point lead at the top of the National Conference League with a 38-16 defeat of visitors Egremont Rangers yesterday.

It was a display of power rather than finesse in glorious weather but their seven tries all came from the backs, right winger Ben West scoring a hat-trick

Wath Brow Hornets beat visitors Thatto Heath Crusaders 22-8 in the battle of the second and third-placed clubs and are emerging as the biggest threats to the Chevinedge men in the chase for top spot ahead of the play-offs.

Siddal had some key players back, following the 38-24 win over Pilkington Recs seven days earlier, but still had to utilise second rowers Ben Hinsley and Ross White in the centre berths.

That only served to give them steel across the pitch and they made far more ground with ball in hand than the out-gunned Cumbrians, who were hit by the loss of star stand-off JP Brocklebank through injury at the end of the first quarter.

As is customary, Siddal were soon behind, visiting centre Matt Bewsher kicking easy penalties after three and five minutes.

Egremont held their 4-0 lead until the 28-minute mark. Siddal, despite errors, were making their physical presence felt and they opened their account after Shaun Garrod had forced a drop out.

Full back Freddie Walker fielded the kick, dropping the ball backwards, and the powerful runner made 40 metres before West shrugged off the last tackler to go under the posts.

Gareth Blackburn added the goal and went on to convert the next four Siddal tries before missing with his last two attempts.

Siddal scored two more tries, at five minute intervals, to stretch their lead to 18-4. Sean McCormack’s perseverance paved the way for scrum half Joe Martin to cut inside the final defender and touch down, then Walker showed his strength from close range.

Gareth English’s ambitious pass, which sent Blackburn haring away along the bottom touch line, was ruled forward and Egremont made the most of a the advanced position, hooker Matty Henson scoring after his grubber kick had conveniently bounced back off English. Bewsher’s conversion narrowed the gap to eight points at the break.

The visitors’ hopes were snuffed out by converted Siddal tries on 43 and 54 minutes. Good passing enabled West to finish wide on the right and then it was time for Garrod’s party piece, the stand off feigning to pass to teammates and arcing round to the try line without a hand laid on him.

Henson scored his second from close range just before the hour mark and Bewsher’s goal made it 30-16 but copybook passing enabled West to complete his hat-trick wide out and a pass from Garrod which any Super Bowl quarter back would have been proud of gave Blackburn an easy run in on the other flank with a couple of minutes left.

Siddal, who have seven games left, take a weekend off ahead of a trip to bottom club Leigh Miners Rangers the following Saturday.

Struggling Elland lost 50-16 at Dewsbury Celtic in Conference Division Three. They host Woolston next weekend.