BURY Broncos suffered a 28-16 defeat at home to title rivals Leigh Miners Rangers A after going into the match missing nine first-team regulars, including four from six of the previous weekend's winning pack.

The majority of those absent were away at the Super League's Magic Weekend in Newcastle.

But coach Dave Kelly was full of praise for those left behind, despite the defeat, which saw second-placed Leigh cut the gap to North West Men's League Division Two table-toppers Broncos to two points with a game in hand.

Kelly said: "I would like to commend the whole team on their attitude, never using missing players as an excuse and giving their all for the full eighty.

"I'd also like to add my personal thanks to Warren Taylor and Reece Bottomley, who answered the call to play at short notice but especially to head coach Liam Owen, who not only missed a friend's funeral to play but helped enormously in getting a team out in exceptional circumstances."

Leigh started the stronger, putting pressure on the Bury line but strong defence kept them out for the opening 15 minutes.

Then, on a rare Bury visit to the Leigh half, hooker Adam Grundy darted over after fooling the Leigh defence with a show-and-go. Blake Roberts kicked the extras.

Unfortunately, seven minutes later, Bury's inability to clamp the ball in the tackle allowed a couple of off loads which enabled the Miners to level the score 6- 6.

Leigh quickly added a second try out wide as the heavens opened, but Broncos steadied themselves to nudge back in front after a smart early kick from a scrum by Brad Cave gave Warren Bluer chance to win a footrace for a well taken try, which Roberts again converted.

The game was evenly balanced leading up to half time but a couple of handling errors cost Bury dear. Leigh took advantage to crash through a tired defence to take a 16-12 lead into the break.

Leigh added another converted try at the start of the second half, but the Broncos never gave up and after the Rangers defence allowed a high Cave kick to bounce, Jonno Taylor tapped the ball back to Sean Kelly who set up Roberts for Bury's third try of the game.

One score would have brought Broncos level, but Leigh closed out the game with a final try seven minutes from time to seal the points.

Players missing from the senior side had a knock-on effect on the Broncos A's chances at Division Four leaders Rochdale Cobras.

A severely weakened side put up a spirited display but were unable to tie down the well-drilled table-toppers, who ran out 76-6 winners. Bury's only score was delivered by Sean Kelly, who ran on to his only kick, and Andrew Willis kicked the extras.

Anyone wishing to play for the Broncos adult sides can get in touch with coach Dave Kelly on 07412 802059.