Centurions produce second half masterclass at Featherstone

Tom Armstrong reaches over to score for Leigh at Featherstone. Photo: Brian King
Tom Armstrong reaches over to score for Leigh at Featherstone. Photo: Brian King

Featherstone Rovers 6 Leigh Centurions 40

A NEAR perfect second half display from Leigh saw them overhaul a 6-4 interval deficit with 36 unanswered points at Featherstone.

Kurt Haggerty scores for Leigh against Featherstone. Photo: Brian King

Kurt Haggerty scores for Leigh against Featherstone. Photo: Brian King

The win - Leigh’s fifth from as many games - cemented their place at the top of the Kingstone Press Championship and extended their winning run to 15.

Centurions ran in seven second half tries and produced some breathtaking rugby as they destroyed the team they beat in last season’s Grand Final.

“To come here and get any sort of win is fantastic,” said Leigh coach Paul Rowley. “We made hard work of the first half and were our own worst enemies.

“We learned to be patient in the second half and our completion rate was excellent. We were delighted with that second half in particular.

“Featherstone frustrated us by slowing us down in the first half but we waited for the opportunities to step it up a gear and scored some exciting tries.”

Playing downhill, Featherstone just shaded a tight first half in terms of possession but they should have had more than one converted try to their name.

Liam Kay had given Leigh the lead in the 10th minute as he scored out wide following some good link play between Ryan Brierley and Tom Armstrong. Ridyard was unable to convert.

But the remainder of the half belonged to the home side who went ahead in the 28th minute. Andy Bostock made a storming run through the middle of the Leigh defence and he offloaded to Nathan Chappell who finished off from nearly 20 metres. Paul Sykes added the conversion.

Centurions stemmed the tide with some determined defence but they struggled to create any clear chances. The closest they came was when Moimoi made a 30 metre break but lost the ball on impact in the tackle with Rovers full-back Will Sharp.

Roles were reversed after the restart as Leigh were utterly dominant and once they got a two score lead they started to play the sort of expansive rugby which has become their trademark.

Leigh regained the lead in the 45th minute when Ridyard kicked early looking for Kay but a mix-up in the Featherstone defence saw the ball hacked forward again and Tom Armstrong was able to touch down. Ridyard added the goal.

Now it was Featherstone who couldn’t get out of their own half and Leigh increased their lead when Brierley’s well-timed pass found Tommy Goulden hit a great line to cut through and score. Ridyard, a growing influence on the game again converted.

Kurt Haggerty was held up over the line on the hour mark but he did score moments later as he danced in from dummy half after Armstrong was tackled inches short of the Featherstone try-line.

Haggerty created Leigh’s next try with a one-handed looping pass in the tackle to Armstrong and the centre finished well in the corner.

Featherstone were a spent force as Leigh turned the screw with some more high speed attacking. Michael Platt finished off a superb move, kicked off by Moimoi’s charge down the middle. Brierley and Penkywicz kept the momentum going before Platt finished off. Ridyard’s goal extended Leigh’s lead to 32-6.

Kay scored his second try soon after before Brierley picked out a wayward pass from Sykes and raced 80 metres to the corner to complete a clinical second half performance from Leigh.

Teams

Leigh: McNally, Pownall, Platt, Armstrong, Kay, Ridyard, Brierley, Moimoi, Penkywicz, Acton, Haggerty, Goulden, Barlow. Subs: Beswick, Wilkes, Hopkins, Emmitt

Featherstone: Sharp, Hitchcox, Chappell, Sykes, Johnstone, Marginet, Irwin, Baldwinson, Ellis, Wood, Cording, Foster, Spears. Subs: Teasdale, Bostock, James, Tonks

Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow

Pitch: Good

Weather: Overcast

Attendance: 2,695