Miners look forward to Raiders Challenge Cup test

Leigh Miners Rangers can’t wait for their game with professional opposition on Saturday according to Darryl Kay. The 23 year old prop who played in the pro ranks for Wigan, Leigh, Blackpool and Rochdale is now back with the amateur club where everything started and is leading from the front.

“Everyone is looking forward to it, we know it’s going to be a tough game, they are a good team but there is no pressure on us. We’ve just got to enjoy it and hopefully give them a run for their money.”

That is exactly what Miners did last season with only a late three try burst saving Whitehaven’s blushes.

“We did really well against Whitehaven last year.” Kay recalled, “We were winning 16-0 after 25 minutes, but in the last ten minutes of each half we just tired. with ten minutes to go it was still 22-20 but we tired and they took control in that final ten. Hopefully we can do the same again on Saturday.”

The Leigh amateurs are currently right in the mix for the National Conference League title and sit in third position with 12 wins from their 18 games.

“This season we’ve had more of a consistent team. Obviously there are odd changes each week but we’ve had a more consistent team. We are in a good position at the moment. We’ve probably lost two or three game we shouldn’t have but we are in third place and can hopefully kick on and get a top two finish.”

Saturday presents a rare opportunity for Miners Rangers to test themselves against one of the top teams outside of Super League.

“If you look at the Barrow squad, they have a really good squad with some very experienced players. We want to enjoy the game. It’s a good experience for us and we are a young team so hopefully we can gain a lot from it and it will help us kick on in the league.”

Kay himself is happy with his form.

“I’m enjoying my rugby down at the Miners, it’s been good.” He said, “I’m playing at prop and leading the team forward.”

“Our halfbacks Scott O’Brien and Ryan Smith are in great form this season, Scott can win a game out of nothing and he’s a key player to have. Tom Bradbury in the centre or second row has been having a good season and he’s just been picked for a BARLA tour. We’ve got a good young team and we like to work hard together.”

It could be the perfect time for Miners to spring a shock with Barrow still reeling from being knocked out of the Northern Rail Cup by virtue of a 16-12 defeat at Dewsbury, branded “diabolical” in the local press by Raiders chairman Des Johnston.

“We know they are not playing well at the moment but all we are thinking of and know we have to do is have a good start and just complete well.” Kay said, “I think as long as we keep completing and the longer we are in the game the more they are going to feel under pressure. They haven’t won for a couple of weeks. We just want to give it a good go and if anything comes of it we’ll be happy.”

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