PILKINGTON Recs were defeated for the first time in the NCL Premier Division, as they lost a close encounter 22-12 against Siddal at Ruskin Drive.

It was a much changed Pilks side to the one that played against Lock Lane last week. Josh Lynch, Kyran Knapper, Ryan Liptrot, Tez Riley, Luke Riley, Ryan Stevens, Jack Roughley and Andy Morris all came out of the side. They were replaced by Jamie Smith, fresh out of retirement as well as Jonathan Frodsham, Jordon Morris, Chris Smith and Jono Peers. Warren Paladino and Aaron Lynch came up from the U18s Ste Charlson also dusted off their boots to play.

Siddal had the early territory, and made it count when they scored the first try of the match on seven minutes, thanks to a brilliant dummy from Benjamin Hinsley, who broke through and scored. Gareth Blackburn missed the conversion however.

This was the story of the first half, Siddal had most of the possession and were largely in Pilks’ half of the pitch. But, the hosts were standing firm.

However, Siddal were able to add to their score before the break as Dominic Booth supported a break to score. Blackburn converted for a 10-0 lead heading into the break.

Pilks needed a quick start, and they got it as Tom Connick managed to dummy his way over to score under the posts. Andy Knapper converted to bring the hosts back to within four points.

The game was starting to get physical, as both teams were desperate to wrangle hold of the floor and the ruck.

It was the visitors who scored next, they spread the ball well and Kian Cox went over in the corner. Blackburn scored the conversion to pull Siddal 10 points ahead.

However, the hosts hit straight back through returning star Jamie Smith. Last year’s Division One Player of the Year was able to get over from short range. Knapper converted once more to bring Pilks back to within four points.

Pilks were starting to claw their way back into the game, and were starting to sense an opportunity.

They had a few chances, including one where Ian Stanley was held up, and Ryan Hilliard was pinged for a forward pass.

It all came down to the final play of the game, and Connick put a kick up into the air, but it was intercepted, and Samuel Walsh was able to run the length of the pitch to seal the game for Siddal. Blackburn converted.

It was a fantastic effort by Pilks, who certainly pushed the Halifax side all the way until the final play of the game. Even more of an achievement when you consider the changes to the side.

They have a slightly longer turnaround than usual, as they face Thatto Heath Crusaders at Ruskin Drive next Sunday.