Revenge win for leaders Siddal
National Conference League leaders Siddal hit back from a 12-0 deficit after 30 minutes to beat visitors Pilkington Recs 30-22 yesterday.
Two tries from winger Josh McDonald and strong showings from forwards Aiden Hema, Gareth English and Iain Davies helped them get on top in a contest which became increasingly scrappy and had several contentious refereeing decisions.
Gareth Greenwood’s side have now dropped three points fewer than any other side in the section after Leigh Miners Rangers beat Wath Brow Hornets 30-16 in the battle of the third and second-placed sides.
Siddal’s next match is at Hornets in 13 days’ time.
Recs are one of only two sides to have beaten Siddal in the league this season and the mid-table visitors threatened a repeat against a home side lacking a handful of key men.
Their tactics of slowing the game down, kicking the ball dead through the heavy boot of Greg Smith and relying on a solid defence served them well for some time.
Siddal had most of the possession but lacked a cutting edge near the try line in the opening half and Recs threatened a couple of times from punts to the corner before making the breakthrough.
Hooker Ryan Liptrot went in at the side of the posts on 24 minutes, with Siddal appealing in vain for a knock on in the tackle before, and Smith converted.
Dangerous full back Ryan Hilliard, who had lost the ball under pressure when looking set to score earlier, made amends on 30 minutes and Smith added the extras to leave the St Helens side in a strong position.
Siddal needed to score next and clawed back six points before the break when the visitors failed to deal with a grubber kick and replacement Ben West cashed in, Kyle Ackroyd adding the goal.
Greenwood’s men finished the half on the front foot and turned the screw with four tries in the opening 22 minutes of the second half.
English smuggled the ball out of the tackle for centre Ross White to score and the veteran forward then less typically put in a grubber kick, McDonald planting his hand on the ball over the try line.
Ackroyd’s quick feet near the try line earned him Siddal’s next score and Tom Garratt’s 60 yard break led to McDonald rounding his opposite number and touching down.
Ackroyd added two of the four conversions to help Siddal take a healthy 26-12 advantage.
Recs were taking an eternity to restart but stayed in the hunt when a dubious Andy Nesbitt try, following a high kick, was allowed to stand. Smith converted.
Few Siddal matches go by without a Shaun Garrod try and the stand off duly took advantage when the Recs defence melted away with 11 minutes left.
Recs had the final word through a converted John Rees try with six minutes to go but Siddal had done enough.