Centurions back to winning ways

Leigh's Sam Hopkins in action against Dewsbury
Leigh's Sam Hopkins in action against Dewsbury

Leigh Centurions 50 Dewsbury Rams 6

Dewsbury proved to be Rams to the slaughter as Leigh Centurions romped in for six second half tries to return to winning ways in the Cooperative Championship.

Three successive defeats and an exit from the Northern Rail Cup had left Leigh at a low ebb, but after grinding out a 16-6 interval lead, the Centurions put the Rams to the sword in spectacular fashion to reassert their challenge for a top four finish.

Leigh were still without a numbers of key players, but significantly they welcomed back tough tackling Tommy Goulden and with John Duffy looking a lot fitter than he did against Featherstone just over a week previously, there was plenty for the fans to cheer.

Anthony Nicholson impressed at hooker as did two try loose forward Sam Hopkins, whilst Matt Gardener and Leigh’s latest duel registered player from Warrington, James Mendeika were a constant threat in the centres. But despite a number of notable display, this was fundamentally a strong team performance that will give Leigh plenty of confidence for the run in to the play-offs.

The Rams arrived with a reputation for being fiercely competitive this season and after a Leigh attack broke down when the strong running Greg McNally was unable to take Mendeika’s pass, it was the visitors forging ahead when full back James Craven got on the outside of the home defence and outpaced them on a 60 metre scoring run. Pat Walker goaled.

But Leigh’s response was almost instantaneous as Leigh forced the drop out from the restart, and within the set of six Nicholson was putting Hopkins under the posts for a Ridyard goaled try.

Within three minutes Leigh had scored again when Ridyard slipped a ball to Steve Maden, and the wingman did superbly well to sneak in at the corner for an ungoaled try.

Ridyard had an interception try ruled out for offside and Scott Spaven was brought back for a forward pass for Dewsbury, before Dean McGilvray was denied by a Craven tackle. But when Goulden put Craig Briscoe over with a peach of a pass on 36 minutes, Ridyard’s conversion ensured Leigh led 16-6 at the break.

Within the first minute of the second period Leigh took control as Ridyard and Duffy combined to put Gardner in for his first try and Ridyard gaoled.

That same half back combination provided McNally with a try some ten minutes later , before another superb Ridyard break had Gardner claiming his second.

The Rams had brought on George Flanagan and after he instigated two minor flare-ups he got the ten minutes in the bin he deserved and immediately Ridyard sent Goulden in by the posts.

Leigh were playing some great stuff with Ridyard in great form alongside Ryan Brierley after Duffy took a well earned rest. Hopkins claimed his second and almost on the hooter Mendeika capped an impressive debut with a 90 metre scoring run, for Ridyard to bring the curtain down on an impressive show with his seventh goal.

LEIGH CENTURIONS: McNally, Maden, Mendeika, Gardner, McGilvray, Ridyard, Duffy, Thornley, Nicholson, Parker, Littler, Goulden, Hopkins. Subs all used: Brierley, Henderson, Briscoe, Gallagher.

Tries: Hopkins (8, 71), Maden (12), Briscoe (36), Gardner (41,57), McNally (51), Goulden (67), Mendeika (80)

Goals; Ridyard 7/9.

DEWSBURY RAMS: Craven, Scott, Williams, Esders, Buchanan, Walker, Spaven, Jones, Hood, Crossley, Tonks, Spicer, Singleton. Subs all used: Blake, Cosgrove, Changler, Flanagan.

Tries: Craven (6)

Goals: Walker 1/1

Referee: Mark Thomason

Half time: 16-6

Attendance: 1,536.