BURY Broncos coach Dave Kelly refused to blame missing players and injuries for a "below-par" display that led to a 40-18 defeat at home to Leyland Warriors.

They went into the match on the back of a defeat to Pilkington Recs A, who replaced them at the top of Division Two in the North West Men's League.

But with the leaders not playing on Saturday, Broncos had the chance to go back to the summit, although they were missing five regular starters and lost two more players to injuries during the game.

Kelly said: "This was a tough game for the team, already with five players missing from the week before, they lost prop Chris Sloan early, and they also lost young Harry Coleman to a shoulder injury which saw him leave the field in an ambulance.

"The team could make excuses about missing players but in truth they were below par, they also know that only they can put it right and I am sure they will do next week."

Leyland raced into an early 12-0 lead on the back of some weak Broncos defence.

The home side hit back through Brad Cave, literally, after the half-back put in a strong tackle then seized on the loose ball to raced under the posts.

But a mistake from the kick-off led to an immediate Leyland try and they added another score to go in at half-time leading 22-6.

The visitors maintained their 22-point advantage in an even second half that saw both sides run in three tries.

Broncos showed great spirit to respond each time Leyland stretched their advantage.

A great long ball from Sean Kelly was taken by Ryan Latham who fed winger Liam Sixsmith to speed in at the corner..

Cave offloaded to hooker Adam Grundy to make it 34-14.

Weak defence and a couple of strange refereeing decisions allowed Leyland to score again, but Broncos stuck at it and a good break by Warren Bluer was supported by Jonno Taylor, who found Kelly on his shoulder and half-back rounding off the scoring.

Bury Broncos A fell to their eighth defeat of the Division Four season, going down 78-18 at home to a Manchester Rangers A side that was boosted by the inclusion of a number of first-team players.

The game actually started well, with Broncos going over the line first when Mike Cave darted under the sticks and his try was converted by Jason Rawlinson.

Rangers ran in a couple of tries but were pegged back when Christopher James and Mike Garside moved the ball well to send Rick Brogan over.

Unfortunately, with the scores level at 12-12, the Broncos defence went missing and the Rangers ran in six unanswered tries to take a 48-12 lead into the break.

The game continued in the same vein in the second half, as Rangers scored another five tries before the Broncos debutant Ben Jenks forced his way over, taking two opposition defenders with him to round off the scoring.