Commanding lead almost lost by errors
MAYFIELD’S North West counties side picked up another valuable two points on Saturday as they beat Leigh Miners at the Mayfield Sports Centre. But in the end it was a game they could easily have lost.
They started brightly with Joe Schofield crossing for a John Marsland converted try after about two minutes. New signings Joe Muir and Christian Avis bolstered the side and added a touch of class while youngsters Sal Mahmood and Jackson Kelly played with a youthful vigour which rubbed of on the rest of the side.
Kelly especially was superb in attack with ball in hand and Sal was the same; showing no fear when up against more experienced players.
Kelly added to the scoreline as he exploited a gap out wide to go over 10 - 0.
Lee Atkinson led his side around the field well and caused problems for the opposition all afternoon.
When Avis and Kelly added tries and a conversion by Kelly made the score 20-0, it looked like Mayfield would run in a cricket score they where completely in control.
Rob Kershaw played a real captain’s role organising the side and doing the hard work when required and Corey Newsham was awesome at full back taking the sting out of any Leigh attack and diffusing several high kicks from the Leigh stand off.
To their credit Miners showed they are a class side grabbing a score before half time to make it 20 - 6 at half time. The second half was a different story as Mayfield tired and the mistakes crept in. With the tiredness came the penalties and Miners began to get a foothold in the game.
They slowly chipped away at the Mayfield line and managed to get the score to within four points as Mayfield opted to convert a penalty sensing the danger posed by visitors.
At 22 - 18 with minutes to go Miners pressed again and it took a huge effort from Avis, Schofield, Kershaw and Mahmood to keep them out.
Kelly stepped up and drove his side up field to relieve the threat but Miners held firm.
The game could have gone either way at this point until the ref penalised the visitors for a minor infringement as they tried to get out of their own ten.
Mayfield gratefully accepted the award and Lee Bradley used his power and experience to drive through the defence and ground the ball, Kelly added the conversion, 28-18.
Mayfield had an outstanding first half and showed great character as things went wrong for them in the second.
They played some fantastic rugby but also made some basic errors giving away soft penalties which could have ended up costing them the game.
On the bright side there were good performances from Newsham, Kershaw, Schofield and the newcomers Avis and Muir the Miners coaching staff gave Atkinson the MOM but Kelly must have pushed him close after an all-action 80 minutes.
Mayfield NWML v Leigh