Leigh Centurions 30 Keighley Cougars 0
LEIGH returned to winning ways after their first league defeat of the season at Doncaster last Sunday by nilling Keighley at the Sports Village.
Paul Rowley’s side scored five converted tries to cement their position at the top of the Kingstone Press Championship though this was a day when the result was more important than the performance.
In an error strewn game which included nearly 30 scrums, Leigh made the most of their few scoring opportunities while producing some determined line defence when needed.
Martyn Ridyard was back in the team after injury and his link with Ryan Brierley, who himself suffered an injury at Doncaster, gave Leigh a much better shape than in recent weeks.
“The result was the important thing today,” said Leigh coach Rowley. “When you consider that Ridyard, Brierley and Gregg McNally have been unable to train with us all week, you are bound to lack fluency in attack. I thought as a match it’d be a 3 out of 10 but I’d take that every week if we won 30-0.
“Defensively I thought we were excellent and that’s what we are looking for when you approach play-off football. We were unforgiving at times and showed some aggression - I’d give the defence 10 out of 10.”
Leigh scored three tires in the first 23 minutes to take a grip on the game. Tom Armstrong went over from 20 metres in the 10th minute before Bob Beswick capitalised on a gap in the Keighley defence to score from dummy half. With Ridyard kicking both goals, Leigh led 12-0.
Skipper Oliver Wilkes scored Leigh’s third try in the 23rd minute, taking a well-timed Jake Emmitt pass at pace to score from 10 metres. Ridyard’s conversion made it 18-0.
Keighley, with Danny Jones’ variety of kicks proving effective, enjoyed the better of things in the closing stages of the first half but were thwarted by some determined Leigh defence.
The game resumed after the interval in the same stop-start manner and scoring chances were few and far between. It needed a flash of brilliance from the always busy winger Liam Kay to shake things up. Kay made a break but his pass infield was blocked by a Keighley defender. From the freeplay, Armstrong found Brierley and his kick ahead was grounded by Gregg McNally. Ridyard added the extras.
Centurions scored their fifth try with 10 minutes remaining. Beswick made a break through the middle and as he faced the Keighley full-back James Craven, the pass inside found Ridyard in support to complete a 60 metre move. Ridyard also added the goal.
Leigh: McNally, Higson, Pitman, Armstrong, Kay, Ridyard, Brierley, Wilkes, Beswick, Emmitt, Sarsfield, Haggerty, Barlow. Subs: Penkywicz, Aspinwall, Hopkins, Acton
Tries: Armstrong, Beswick, Wilkes, McNally, Ridyard
Goals: Ridyard 5/5
Keighley: Craven, Barnett, Lawton, Haley, White, Jones, March, Shickell, Feather, Hesketh, Purslove, Rawlins, Lindsay. Subs: Lynam, Sagar, Law, Cherryholme
Referee: Adam Gill
Pitch: Very good