It was business as usual for Siddal, in spite of a switch to Friday night action, when they brushed aside Myton Warriors 46-4 at Chevinedge.
Victory gave them a seven-point lead at the top of the National Conference League overnight but second-placed Thatto Heath, their hosts next Saturday, closed the gap with a useful 24-20 win at West Hull yesterday.
Myton had requested to play a day early, with Hull FC in Challenge Cup semi-final action against Leeds yesterday, and both sides were depleted.
However, the reigning champions showed their strength in depth and coped with the very wet conditions much better than their visitors.
Impressive prop George Ambler continued from where he had left off in the runaway win at Leigh MR, opening the scoring in the seventh minute after Gareth English had typically off-loaded in a three man tackle almost on the Myton try line. Gareth Blackburn added the simple conversion.
Siddal went in for try number two on 14 minutes when the ball was moved quickly to the right and half-back Finley Hickey fired out a superb fast, long and flat pass to right wing Gavin Stead, who finished in the corner. Blackburn couldn’t convert.
Conditions meant plenty of errors but Myton stuck to their task, well led by scrum half Ash James and forwards Richard Dunham, Liam Ward and Nick Halstead.
They managed to force a couple of goal line drop outs but never really threatened to score.
On the half hour mark Siddal stretched their lead to 14-0 when stand in hooker Danny Rushworth burrowed over from a play the ball close to the line and posts. Surprisingly, Blackburn struck the woodwork with the kick.
Myton’s attempts to get back in the game received a severe blow in the 35th minute when they lost two players after a sickening clash of heads.
Centre Jack Watts and second row Joe Dewsbury sustained nasty cuts attempting to make a tackle and took no further part in the game.
Siddal took a 20-0 lead into the break when bench man Elliot Thompson came onto a short pass from Shaun Garrod and crashed over the top of a couple of Myton defenders for a converted try in the closing seconds of the half.
Surprisingly, Myton were first to score in the second half. On 46 minutes, after fielding a deep kick from James, Siddal fullback Joe Marin brought the ball back at pace but his risky pass to the left was put down and Myton right wing Terry Falconer scooped up the loose ball and ran unopposed to score. James missed the conversion but Myton had a short lifeline.
Siddal’s response was to score three tries in 10 minutes.
Garrod went blind from a play the ball close to the Myton line and managed to squeeze a pass back inside to the supporting Ben Hinsley. Gavin Stead couldn’t convert from wide left.
Garrod then side-stepped the Myton defence and glided through to score to the right of the posts. Stead’s kick made it 30-4.
On the hour mark Rushworth grabbed his second try. Sensing that the Myton defence was tiring, he shot away from a play the ball 15 metres out, dummied and went under the posts. Stead converted.
As conditions deteriorated a combination of handling errors and spirited defence by Myton kept the scoreline respectable but Siddal’s Martin finished with a flourish, scoring twice in the final 10 minutes.
On 71 minutes he finished a handling move wide on the left and five minutes later crept in at dummy half near the line and scooted over. Stead added one of the two conversions.
Rushworth was man of the match for Siddal and there were other impressive performances from Martin, Hickey and Ambler.