Batley Bulldogs 6 Leigh Centurions 36
Leigh edged ever closer to sealing top spot in the Kingstone Press Championship with a thoroughly professional display at Batley.
Paul Rowley’s side raced into a 16-0 interval lead before finishing the job with three tries in six minutes midway through the second half.
Half backs Ryan Brierley and Martyn Ridyard were in sparkling form while there was a threat on the edges from the likes of Liam Kay and Tom Armstrong. In the pack, hookers Sean Penkywicz and Bob Beswick directed things well while Jake Emmitt and Sam Barlow got through a stack of work.
Having won the toss, Leigh played up the considerable Mount Pleasant slope in the first half and made the perfect start.
With less than a minute played, Tom Armstrong broke strongly and his inside pass ground Ryan Brierley in support to finish off from 30 metres. Martyn Ridyard added the conversion.
Leigh spent much of the next quarter defending and they withstood wave after wave of Batley attacks. Having failed to capitalise, Batley were punished by a second Leigh try in the 24th minute.
Matt Sarsfield finished off a move started by Ridyard’s short pass to McNally which saw the full-back race clear. Ridyard added the conversion.
In the six minutes before halftime, Leigh extended their lead with two Ridyard penalties - one for offside and another for an illegal tackle on Jamie Acton.
Batley hinted at a revival with a try from former Leigh fullback Miles Greenwood within a minute of the restart. Scott Leatherbarrow added the conversion.
But Leigh were not about to crumble and produced a breathtaking spell of rugby which included three tries in six minutes. First Adam Higson produced a sparkling finish to score out wide after taking a long pass from Gregg McNally in the 55th minute.
Ridyard and Brierley combined before sending Kay in at the corner and in the 61st minute, Sarsfield and Beswick linked with devastating effect to send Armstrong racing clear to score. Ridyard added the conversion to make it 30-6.
As the game fizzled out, there were some really niggly periods and Batley’s Lee Paterson was sent off by referee Chris Kendall. Paterson walked after apparently saying something which the ref took objection to. After the game, match commissioner would make no further comment on the incident.
Leigh then had Acton sinbinned for a “chop” in the tackle so both teams finished with 12 men.
With three minutes remaining, quick passing along the line got McNally in at the corner and Ridyard converted from touch.
Leigh: McNally, Higson, Pitman, Armstrong, Kay, Ridyard, Brierley, Emmitt, Penkywicz, Hopkins, Sarsfield, Haggerty, Barlow. Subs: Beswick, Goulden, Aspinwall, Acton
Tries: McNally, Brierley, Sarsfield, Higson, Kay, Armstrong
Goals: Ridyard 6/8
Batley: Greenwood, Reittie, Paterson, Heaton, Finigan, Davies, Leatherbarrow, Smith, Nicholson, Applegarth, Scott, Bretherton, Blake. Subs: Rowe, Gledhill, Johnson, Chandler
Conversion: Leatherbarrow 1/1
Referee: Chris Kendall
Weather: Windy with sunny spells