Siddal turned in their best performance of the National Conference League season so far when they won 40-12 away to Pilkington Recs under lights on Friday evening.
The defending champions maintained their 100 per cent record in the Premier Division in a re-arranged game after the original was abandoned due to an injury to a Pilkington player.
Siddal never looked in danger of losing after scoring three tries in the first 15 minutes to open up a 16-0 lead.
Ben Hinsley was first over the line in the fifth minute after good work from hooker Craig Sanderson and props Iain Davies and Byron Smith. Hinsley forced his way over from a play close to the line.
Gareth Blackburn couldn’t convert but four minutes later he was lining up another kick after a great Siddal try. Skipper Shaun Garrod made a break from deep in Siddal’s half down the left side and fed the supporting Blackburn, who drew the cover and passed inside for fullback Freddie Walker to accelerate away from defenders to score under the posts. Blackburn’s kick made it 10-0.
On the restart second row Zack McComb, loose forward Jack Georgiou and wing Taniela Bakosa tested the Pilkington defensive line.
Garrod’s high last tackle kick was spilled over the try line by the home side and McComb scooped the ball up and ran behind the posts for try number three. Blackburn added the easy conversion.
For the next 10 minutes Siddal got on the wrong side of the referee and were heavily penalised but great goal-line defence kept Pilks at bay.
Just as it appeared they were going to complete three successive defensive sets, a Pilks half-back sent a grubber kick into the goal area for a home player to touch down. The goal reduced the deficit to 16-6.
Once in possession, though, Siddal always looked like breaking the Pilks defence. Garrod and halfback partner Kyle Ackroyd moved the ball wide to allow centres Joe Martin and Gavin Stead the opportunity to run at their opponents and Sanderson drew several penalties on the back of quick plays as the Pilks markers were offside.
It was just a matter of time before Siddal extended their lead and Garrod duly obliged on 35 minutes, a customary short burst and step taking him past two static Pilks defenders out wide on the left. Blackburn added a great goal and Siddal reached half time 22-6 to the good.
The second half began as the first with Siddal threatening whenever they had possession.
On 46 minutes a great break down the centre of the field by Sanderson was carried on by Walker and then Stead, who took three defenders over the line and got the ball down. Blackburn couldn’t convert but at 26-6 down Pilks were already looking a beaten side.
There was another period of Siddal giving away penalties but Pilks couldn’t get their attack going as the visitors’ defence was on top form.
On 65 minutes that terrific defence helped Siddal make the game safe. As Pilks tried to come away from their own line, the ball was forced loose by a huge hit from Byron Smith and George Ambler. The ball was pushed back behind the try line where Davies scored a gift of a try. Blackburn’s goal made it 32-6.
Pilks managed to find touch from the restart, secured the scrum feed and did begin to spread the ball. Siddal continued to be penalised by the referee, who sin binned Hinsley.
Pilks scored their second try whilst Hinsley was off and the conversion brought a little respectability to the score at 32-12.
Siddal finished with a flourish. On 73 minutes Garrod fired a cut out pass to his left which hit Walker at pace. Walker shot through the Pilks line and rounded the fullback to grab his second try of the night.
Blackburn missed the goal and another in the final minute after a typical Garrod shift down the blind side from a play the ball and quick, flat pass to Blackburn, which had allowed the winger to go over for try number eight.
Sanderson was man of the match but Walker, McComb, Martin and Smith also excelled.