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Siddal win tight contest against Rochdale Mayfield

By Joe McCormack

26-24 scoreline secures third win in a row

Siddal's coaching team of Gareth English and Daz Phillips got the win they challenged their team to secure, when they bagged their third victory on the bounce in the NCL Premier Division table. While 6 points from the last 3 games have not moved the Halifax side up from 8th position, they have moved 8 points clear of the bottom three and are only 2 points off a play off position with 2 games in hand.

The home side got off to a poor start in the heat at Chevinedge. They repeatedly knocked on and as a result conceded both territory and possession to their Lancashire opponents, who took advantage of Siddal's mistakes.

Rochdale Mayfield took the lead after 10 minutes when loose forward Luke Fowden forced his way over the line, for a try that was improved by lively scrum half Cole Connolly. 5 minutes later Wayne Bannister dived on the ball by the corner flag after a neat kick from stand off Cameron Connolly. Cole Connolly hit a great conversion from the touchline and with just 15 minutes on the clock the visitors held a deserved 0-12 lead.

Siddal at last started to gain some possession and they scored 3 tries in a 10 minute spell mid-way through the first half. The first came from loose forward Danny Rushworth who ran on to a miss pass move from hooker Sean McCormack to touch down unopposed after 17 minutes. Mayfield then conceded back-to-back penalties for high shots which resulted in a sin-binning for Mark Biggins. Siddal made the most of the man advantage and full back Freddy Walker dived over in the corner, picking up a nasty head injury in the process, which didn't prevent him carrying on for the full 80 minutes.

Scrum half Jake Turner then dummied his way through the Mayfield defence and just managed to reach out and touch down as the visiting full back Wayne English tried in vain to prevent the score. Siddal's man-of-the-match and stand off Gareth Blackburn made all 3 conversions, including one from the touchline, to put Siddal ahead at 18-12 with 27 minutes on the clock.

Siddal couldn't register a further score before half time, but finished the half on top with the returning Conner MacCallum, Dom O'Keefe, Jack Georgiou, Iain Davies and Canaan Smithies all starting to have an influence on the game.

Mayfield came out in determined fashion in the second period. Siddal conceded three early penalties and the Connolly brothers at half back were prompting their forwards and Fowden and prop Jimmy Connaughton were a threat with the ball in hand. While it was no surprise that they levelled the game after 55 minutes at 18-18, the manner in which it came about was. With Siddal looking to increase their lead, a loose pass was intercepted 10 yards from the Mayfield line and winger John Foy raced 90 metres to touch down, with Cole Connolly again successful with the conversion.

Siddal tried to hit back in a move involving Keenan Ramsden, MacCallum and Eddie Ainley as they took play 50 yards downfield. Wingers Dom Booth and Josh Greenwood-MacDonald were helping out their forwards in the heat as they took on the Mayfield defence, with pressure relieving carries.

Siddal regained the lead after 65 minutes. McCormack, who looked a threat all afternoon had the ball ripped out in attempting to touch down and skipper George Ambler was first to react to the loose ball as he dived on it over the line for a try under the posts, giving Blackburn an easy 2 points to make the scores 24-18.

With 10 minutes left on the clock, Blackburn struck a good penalty after an infringement in the ruck by the visitors, to put Siddal a vital two scores ahead at 26-18, a cushion that they were welcome of, as Mayfield again put pressure on the home defence.

With five minutes left, Mayfield gave themselves hope as the impressive Wayne English raced through a gap to score and once again Connolly's conversion was successful to reduce the deficit to 26-24.

Just two minutes from time, Siddal conceded a penalty fifty yards out and Connolly's attempt was the only kick not to sail between the posts all day, as they failed to level the scores at the death. Siddal managed to see out a game, when again not at their best, as player coach Gareth English and Ben Hinsley steadied the ship.

Siddal now have a 3 game spell on the road, but can go into those matches looking up the table, rather than over their shoulders.

Updated 14:58 - 7 Jul 2019 by Joe McCormack

Where next?

Junior Finals at Batley Bulldogs Saturday 6 July Siddal Under 13s and Under 18s in Yorkshire Junior League Challenge Cup Final

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