24 Mar 2022

NCL Preview | Round 4

NCL Preview | Round 4

Unbeaten West Hull see their record go on the line against Leigh Miners Rangers on Saturday in Round Four of the National Conference League.

It is a big day for the club which celebrates a milestone with invitations out to past players from the 2002 squad. That was a tremendous season for Wests who lifted the BARLA National Cup, finished top of the NCL Premier Division and won the Grand Final against of all teams, Leigh Miners Rangers.

Taking up the story is the NCL's team Assistant Coach Glyn Jones.

"It's twenty years since the club did the domestic treble and we defeated Leigh Miners at Spotland Arena in the inaugural Grand Final." He explained. "We thought Leigh Miners are back in the Premier division, it's a good time to get the old boys together and have a good day!"

Jones himself was a part of that team and chuckled, "It will be really good to catch up with former teammates. You might normally see one or two, out and about but we are hoping to get maybe fifty of the ex squad.

"It's a bit of a cliche, but it's friends for life. You might not see someone for ten, fifteen years but as soon as you see them it's like you were never away - the banter will be flowing."

Reflecting on West Hull's start to the campaign, Jones said, "In the first two games we've gone really well. At Thornhill away, everything that we worked on in training paid off, the same with Rochdale Mayfield. We seem to have a thing with our team and we've done it even when we were champions, we get the win and then just ease off. We never do enough to turn the screw and post big points. That is also credit to the opposition.

"I don't want to take anything away from York Acorn because I thought it was a very good defensive effort from them on Saturday, but we had eight players missing from the Rochdale Mayfield team. We were hoping to give our academy four players that were returning but we ended up taking them.

"York Acorn had a great game."

Speaking of Leigh Miners Rangers, Jones added, "I think we have a cracking game coming up. I don't know much about Leigh Miners Rangers this year. They've had a couple of good results, they ran Hunslet Club Parkside quite close at their place. Our lads won't be taking anything for granted, they'll give them the respect that they deserve and hopefully, we can come away with the win."

Jones praised the efforts so far this season of hooker Josh Wood, second-row Benn Arbon described as "tough as teak" and goal-kicking prop Ryan Wilson who missed the game last week but is expected to feature this time around.

Leigh Miners Rangers are still adjusting to life in the National Conference Premier Division and are in the middle of a difficult run of fixtures according to head coach Dave Rowlands.

"Nothing against Pilkington Recs but we looked at the first half dozen games and thought we can probably get two points against them and then it's going to be tough.

after Siddal, Hunslet Club Parkside, and West Hull this Saturday we also go to current champions Thatto Heath, but if you want to compete in this league then you have to get used to playing these sides week in, week out.

"We had a really good start to be fair against Pilks. I think the last couple of times we have played them they've beaten us. It was a bit of a convincing win against them in round one. I was really happy with our defence and we played some nice stuff. We then went to Siddal with seven lads missing out of that team. That was a tough day at the office. We were drawing 6-all, 27 minutes in, and then their bench came on and completely rolled us down the middle of field. There was a bit of inexperience from us and that showed on the day but it was a massive learning curve for them.

"Against Hunslet Club Parkside we were leading 16-10 at half-time. They put a bit of ball down and we took our chances. In the second half Danny Rowse just kicked us to death - he changed the game for them. We overplayed when coming out of yardage, but yeah, we had a good dig and didn't really take our chances in the second half but they are a top-four side."

He picked out both Noah Lancelott and Marco Williamson, who have trialed for England Community Lions U-19s this season, "Both crossed for tries last week and had absolutely outstanding games again, but they are still learning to play at that level. Stepping up from the Under-18s to play NCL Prem is like chalk and cheese."

"West Hull are in a little bit of a transitional phase themselves but I would say they are probably eighteen months in front of us. west Hull are a good side, they always turn out good sides, they have been one of the strongest teams in the NCL for a long, long time. It's a proper rugby club, the supporters always turn out to support their team and visiting teams always get looked after. It's always a good game. I'd say that they like to play an expansive game like us."

There are a number of exciting games in prospect with Siddal v Hunslet Club Parkside and Thatto Heath Crusaders v Lock Lane to look forward to in the Premier division, Oulton Raiders hosting Ince rose Bridge and Wigan St Pats entertaining Kells in Division One, Woolston Rovers hosting Beverley in Division Two, and East Leeds clashing with Waterhead Warriors in Division Three.

Remember you can tweet and tell all about your game, @OfficialNCL.

Premier Division

  • Egremont v York Acorn
  • Siddal v Hunslet Club Parkside
  • Thronhill Trojans v Pilkington Recs
  • Thatto Heath Crusaders v Lock Lane
  • Wath Brow Hornets v Rochdale Mayfield
  • West Hull v Leigh Miners Rangers

Division One

  • Featherstone Lions v Hull Dockers
  • Myton Warriors v Milford
  • Oulton Raiders v Ince Rose Bridge
  • Stanningley v Saddleworth Rangers
  • West Bowling v Skirlaugh
  • Wigan St Pats v Kells

Division Two

  • Barrow Island v Heworth
  • Clock Face Miners v Dewsbury Moor
  • Crosfields v Hunslet Warriors
  • Normanton Knights v Bradford Dudley Hill
  • Wigan St Judes v Dewsbury Celtic
  • Woolston Rovers v Beverley

Division Three

  • Batley Boys v Drighlington
  • Bentley v Oldham St Annes
  • East Leeds v Waterhead Warriors
  • Eastmoor Dragons v Shaw Cross Sharks
  • Seaton Rangers v Leigh East