Centurions fight back to stretch lead at the top

Leigh's Liam Kay scores at Dewsbury. Photo: Brian King
Leigh's Liam Kay scores at Dewsbury. Photo: Brian King

Dewsbury Rams 12 Leigh Centurions 28

Leigh extended their lead at the top of the Kingstone Press Championship to seven points after a hard earned win at Dewsbury.

The home side were leading 8-0 just before half-time but they were reduced to 12 men following a high tackle by Matthew Haggerty on Leigh’s Ryan Brierley.

But in the second half, Leigh made the most of their extra man advantage scoring five unanswered tries - all converted by Martyn Ridyard.

Tries from Liam Kay and Brierley at the start of the second half saw Leigh claw back the deficit and they took the lead in the 44th minute.

Further scores from Tom Spencer after a great pass from Sean Penkywicz and Kurt Haggerty completed the turnaround while Brierley scored a second 12 minutes from time.

Dewsbury’s Dale Morton scored a consolation effort but their quest for a bonus point proved fruitless.

With the wind at their backs, Dewsbury made the better start with an early 40/20 kick signalling their intentions.

The home side continued to press and opened the scoring after 12 minutes as Kieran Hyde intercepted Brierley’s pass and raced 60 metres to the tryline. Jordan Grayston added the conversion.

Leigh had a lucky escape when Wayne Godwin’s cross field kick was dropped by winger Dale Morton as he dived to take the ball.

Grayston saw a penalty attempt go wide after Cameron Pitman was penalised for interference at the play the ball then Rams had a second try disallowed. Again Morton was the unlucky one - he took Kieran Hyde’s cross field kick on the full but the touch judge disallowed the try for offside.

The home side did add further points eight minutes before half-time when Grayston kicked a penalty for a high tackle by Adam Higson which saw him placed on report.

There were extraordinary scenes at the end of the half as Leigh’s Brierley was high tackled by Haggarty - the Dewsbury player receiving a red card. Stewards had to step in as tempers flared on the respective benches and the hooter sounded which was probably just as well given the volatile atmosphere.

Within a minute of the restart, Kay scored after quick passing to the left and a lovely runaround between Tommy Goulden and Brierley eneded with the Leigh half-back scoring in the corner. Ridyard’s second conversion gave Leigh the lead for the first time in the game.

Sean Penkywicz set up a try for Spencer in the 57th minute and then Penkywicz’s 40/20 kick gave Leigh the platform from which Kurt Haggerty scored out wide, Ridyard again goaled.

Brierley scored his second 12 minutes from time showing a nice burst of pace to get away from the Dewsbury defence and Ridyard added the extras.

Leigh ended the game with 11 men following the sin-binnings of Haggerty and Jamie Acton for dissent and punching respectively.

Teams

Leigh: McNally, Higson, Pitman, Armstrong, Kay, Ridyard, Brierley, Spencer, Beswick, Emmitt, Haggerty, Goulden, Hopkins. Subs: Penkywicz, Wilkes, Barlow, Acton

Tries: Brierley 2, Kay, Spencer, Haggerty

Goals: Ridyard 5/5

Dewsbury: Grayston, Morton, Becket, Grady, Scott, Hyde, Thackeray, Dowes, Godwin, Aizue, Spicer, Hale, Tonks. Subs: Sheriff, Hepworth, Haggerty, Gallagher

Tries: Hyde, Morton

Goals: Grayston 2/4

Referee: Dave Merrick

Attendance: 1,193