Only snow can stop meeting of top sides at Leigh

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The Independent Online

Snow permitting, Leigh will stage a unique double-header today, with the town's football and rugby league teams on duty at Hilton Park.

Snow permitting, Leigh will stage a unique double-header today, with the town's football and rugby league teams on duty at Hilton Park.

Leigh RMI play Northwich in the Vauxhall Conference at noon, with the Northern Ford Premiership pacesetters, Leigh and Swinton, meeting at 4.0pm.

"We are desperately trying to ensure that the game goes ahead," the Leigh chairman, Mike Nolan, said. "The pitch under the snow is playable but we need to get rid of the residual snow. If anyone is sober enough from 8 o'clock on Monday morning, we could do with their help to clear the snow."

Leigh could also be set to take on St Helens, whose New Year derby against Warrington was an early casualty of the weather, in a specially arranged friendly on Friday.

"I spoke to Ian Millward about the possibility pretty recently and he has said it would be ideal preparation for their World Club Championship clash with Brisbane Broncos," said the Leigh coach, Paul Terzis, who is confident that he has a squad that can cope should the fixture be confirmed.

"We play Swinton on Monday while the Alliance are at Featherstone on Thursday. I'm confident our squad can back up on Friday and at Chorley on Sunday.

"Our priority is to win against Swinton and Chorley but if we play Saints, we won't be going out for fun. It will be a good opportunity to test ourselves and see where we are up to."

The other two Super League friendlies scheduled for today should go ahead. Headingley, which hosts Leeds versus Castleford, and the McAlpine Stadium, where Halifax visit Huddersfield, have undersoil heating. Cas will have their new Australian scrum-half, Mitch Healey, in their line-up for the first time, while both Halifax and Huddersfield will unveil new signings.

Ireland's World Cup hooker, John Lawless, makes his second Halifax debut on his return to the club from Huddersfield, while Paul Davidson and Jamiie Thackerasy could form a new combination in the second row. Huddersfield plan to give a run to all their newcomers, apart from Graham Appo, who is still waiting for a work permit.

The fate of the rest of the NFP programme is less certain, with the leaders Keighley's match against Hull KR the first to be called off - the down-side of the division moving the season deeper into mid-winter.

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