New coaching partnership Daz Phillips and Gareth English began their reign with a great win against 2017 Grand Final winners Thatto Heath. It was an all round team effort with all 17 players making a contribution to the win.
The lead changed hands no fewer that 7 times, as the teams traded tries throughout the game.
Thatto were first to touch down after 7 minutes when they moved the ball out wide and right wing Dave Meadows scored by the flag. The conversion was missed by Thatto's lively stand off, Jack Jones, but the visitors had their noses in front at 0-4.
Siddal fought back and levelled the scores after 18 minutes, when stand off Jake Smith lofted a kick to the in goal area which was gathered by wing Dom Booth. He touched down by the flag and Gareth Blackburn made no mistake with a tremendous kick from the touchline on a day when he had a 100% kicking record.
Thatto regained the lead after 30 mins when the home defence failed to stop an offload and Jack Jones scored by the posts and his conversion left the scoreline at 6-10.
The tit-for-tat pattern continued when Siddal scored 35 minutes. Determined forward play saw strong drives from Jack Georgiou, Tom Hirst, George Ambler and Ben Hinsley to set a platform for Georgiou to score by the posts. Blackburn's conversion put Siddal back in front at 12-10, with no further scoring before the half time break.
Siddal were guilty of conceding a series of penalties at the beginning of the second half, which allowed the visitors to gain possession and territorial advantage from which centre Matty Morton scored. Jones' conversion put Thatto back in front at 12-16.
The home side were back in front after 49 minutes. Outstanding full back Lewis Hosty span out of a tackle to release player coach English, who made no mistake with the finish. The ever reliable Blackburn's conversion from wide out left the scores at 18-16.
The lead didn't last long as Thatto scored from the next set. The visitors regained the ball from the re-start and second rower Connor Dwyer scored by the posts. Jones' conversion put Thatto back in front at 18-22.
The home side were then driven forward by Danny Rushworth, Elliott Thompson, Sean McCormack, Canaan Smithies and Byron Smith. The ball was moved wide for Jake Smith to feed the rampaging Hinsley through a gap out wide and he stormed over the line. Blackburn's conversion had Siddal back in front at 24-22 after 61 minutes.
Thatto levelled the scores at 24-24 following a penalty from Jones after 66 minutes.
With the game looking like it could go either way, Siddal dominated the final 15 minutes. McCormack and Rushworth were both making good yards from dummy half and youngsters Sam Walsh and Connor MacCallum helped the forwards with strong running. After 72 minutes, Blackburn scored a drop goal to put Siddal back in front at 25-24. Siddal kept the ball for the majority of the final minutes, as Thatto began to concede penalties. From the final penalty, Blackburn scored to edge the home side out to 27-24 and the whistle was blown before the game could be re-started.
Updated 10:14 - 8 Apr 2018 by Joe McCormack