LEIGH Centurions returned to winning ways with a Co-operative Championship victory over a Dewsbury Rams side that they must meet again this coming Sunday.
As a dress rehearsal for the Northern Rail Cup semi-final against the same opposition, it all went pretty smoothly for the Centurions, but they are well aware that next weekend will prove a different test against a side that will be determined to improve on this disappointing show.
For the Centurions it was very much a case of picking themselves up, dusting down and getting back to doing what they do best after that first defeat of the season to Halifax. And with three tries in the opening 18 minutes they made sure that the Rams were not going create an upset.
Leigh ran in seven tries with Mick Nanyn claiming a hat trick, whilst Jamie Ellis was back on song to help steer the club around the park.
A constant deluge didn’t help the handling, but after conceding a worrying number of points in recent games, the home side almost locked out their Dewsbury visitors with a 77th minute try from prop Anthony England saving the whitewash.
James Taylor led the defensive effort, but Stuart Littler, Tommy Goulden and Chris Hill were prominent, with John Duffy ever lively.
Leigh were off the mark as early as the fourth minute when they kept the ball alive and Nanyn was able to power in for a try to which he added the extras.
Goulden was the next to power over from close range, before Stuart Littler showed fleet of foot to get in for a third try and a second Nanyn goal on 18 minutes.
But as the rain came down the points dried up and Leigh were forced to drop out a couple of times from under their own posts as Stuart Donlan pulled off a couple of crucial tackles and the home defence never faltered.
Having to settle for a 16-0 half time advantage, Leigh were given notice that they will have to work hard again if they want to book a Northern Rail Cup Final as Dewsbury had new signing from Barrow, Richard Fletcher going well, but on 54 minutes they finally added to their score when Duffy and Ellis combined superbly to put Donlan in for an ungoaled try.
Suddenly Leigh were ripping through the Rams defence and when Martyn Ridyard found Nanyn, the big centre was in for his second try, before adding his third on 67 minutes when taking Ellis’s kick to the corner to bang the ball down for a try that Ellis then goaled.
The Rams worked hard to put Leigh under pressure, but Leigh’s seventh and final try came six minutes from time when Steve Maden capitalised on a Rams’ error to cross.
The Rams grabbed their consolation with three minutes remaining when England went in off Ayden Faal’s pass, with all eyes turning to next week’s rematch when a Northern Rail Cup Final place will be at stake.