Rugby League: Ranson's incursions bruise Leigh

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The Independent Online
Leigh. . . . 14

Oldham. . . .26

UNBEATEN Oldham of the Second Divison took another First Division scalp in an untidy Lancashire Cup tie. Oldham were able to progress into the semi-finals at the expense of troubled Leigh despite playing more than half the game a man short and without needing to approach the heights of their first-round win over Warrington.

Such is Leigh's plight, without a coach at the bottom of the First Division, that it was a disappointment rather than a surprise to see them lose the initiative temporarily given by John Woods' penalty goal. It was the pace and opportunism of Oldham's winger, Scot Ranson, that put them on the rack. He leapt high to take Tommy Martyn's perceptive kick for one try and then dribbled 80 yards after Woods' pass had gone to ground for another.

With Martyn converting both, it seemed that Oldham were well on their way, but two minutes before half-time changed the picture considerably. Stuart Pugsley, starting his first game for Leigh, his home-town club, made an excellent break and John Costello backed up to score with the Oldham cover nowhere. Woods' conversion put Leigh within four points and they got further encouragement when their former player, Mark Sheals, was sent off for a high tackle on Andy Ruane.

Leigh played too much one-man rugby to make use of their advantage in numbers and Martyn nudged Oldham further ahead with a drop goal, while David Bradbury and Ranson both had tries disallowed.

An already disjointed Leigh were in further disarray with the loss of the injured Pugsley and Oldham eventually forced their way over for a third try, Richard Pachniuk scoring from close range and Martyn again converting.

Martyn landed another drop goal before Costello took Keith Newton's pass for a defiant second try for Leigh. But Shaun Tyrer's last-minute try, after good handling by Martyn and Stuart Cocker, sealed the win for the 12 men.

Leigh: Tanner; Fanning, D Ruane, Mahon, Hill; Woods, Pugsley (Newton, 56); Burke (Street, 49), Bridge, Street (A Ruane, 30), Costello, Newton (Collier, 30), Pendlebury.

Oldham: Martyn; Ranson, Cocker, Ropati, Tyrer; Russell (Tupaea, 74), Devine; Sheals, Pachniuk, McDermott (Solomona, 22; (McDermott, 63)), Tupaea (Jones, 40), Olsen, Bradbury.

Referee: D Campbell (Widnes).

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