BURY Broncos coach Dave Kelly took heart from his side's gutsy display despite falling to a 32-22 defeat at their Whitefield home to Leigh Miners Rangers A in the North West Men's League Division Two Cup quarter-final.

A raft of injuries and absentees forced Kelly to field an inexperienced side including a number of youngsters and second-teamers.

But they acquitted themselves well against a Miners outfit that boasted a handful off players from their National Conference League side.

The 10 point winning margin was only confirmed by a decisive Miners score at the death as Broncos pushed forward looking for a try that could have brought the scores level.

“If they play with this spirit, I have no doubt they will come through," said Kelly, encouraging youngsters with their hearts set on a regular place in the first team.

"The team should take great encouragement that, with so many players absent, they pushed a side including several National Conference League players very close – especially as nine of the starting 13 were aged 23 or under.

"There were some big performances today especially from second-team stalwart Paul Kynaston, Liam Sixsmith, Tyler Nolan, Brad Cave and Tom Hindle."

The first half began badly for the Broncos as some lacklustre defence allowed the visiting Miners to open up a 6-0 lead.

But strong running from Broncos forwards Tyler Nolan and Jonathan Taylor put their opponents on the back foot and Brad Cave spotted space on the blind side to speed over for an unconverted try.

The Broncos rose to the challenge, and a Sean Kelly dummy and well-timed pass put Liam Sixsmith in the clear.

The second rower showed strength and pace to score out wide and his try was converted by Blake Roberts to hand Broncos a four-point lead.

They increased their advantage when an Adam Grundy pass was knocked down and Sixsmith fed Steve Critchley to score in the corner.

Another great conversion from Roberts extended the lead to 16-6, but a succession of penalties allowed Miners back into the match.

Leigh scored two quick tries to take a two-point lead into half time then added another 10 points after the break to go 28-16 in front.

To Broncos' credit, they did not give up and moved back to within six points when a good offload from Martin Wilcock found Sixsmith, who put Grant Carr in at the corner for a try superbly converted by Roberts.

The Broncos pressed the Leigh line but never managed to get over and were hit on the counter late on.

Elsewhere, the club showed they have plenty more youngsters coming through the ranks with both the under-9s and u13s putting in decent displays in friendlies this week. The u9s pitted their wits against Woolston, while the u13s enjoyed a competitive trip to Wigan St Judes.