Centurions roar to cage the Lions

CAPTAIN: Rob Parker
CAPTAIN: Rob Parker

Swinton Lions 12

Leigh Centurions 20

Leigh Centurions returned to winning ways with this ‘away’ victory over Swinton Lions to get their Easter off to a bright start.

The game was of course played at the Leigh Sports Village which is the ground shared by Swinton, and that nullified any home advantage either side would care to claim.

But a cracking derby clash eventually saw Leigh come out on top with yet another strong second half display seeing them home.

With captain Rob Parker impressive in the pack and such as Simon Finngan, Tommy Goulden and Martin Aspinwall going well, Leigh had Greg McNally back in the side after the birth of his son last week – and he celebrated in style with Leigh’s first try.

This came after the ‘home’ side gave Leigh a scare when the lively Richie Hawkyard spilt the Centurions defence to put the speedy Kevin Penny away, but the pass was judged forward by the referee.

Leigh responded to the let off by taking the ball upfield and creating the gap for McNally to link and cross for a Martyn Ridyard goaled try.

The Lions roared back in the 12th minute as Penny intercepted and raced 80 metres for a try under the posts which Ryan Shaw goaled to level.

Swinton prop Neil Holland missed an opportunity to grab the lead when knocking on with the line open and then Leigh’s Michael Ostick also lost the ball when a chance beckoned.

It was Ridyard who broke the deadlock on 21 minutes to put his side back into the lead by scoring a try to which he could not add the extras.

A mistake from the restart put Leigh under pressure and Rhys Williams should have scored for Swinton whilst more pressure from the Centurions didn’t bring any reward and Leigh had to settle for a 10-6 interval lead.

There were no shortage of former Leigh players in the Swinton ranks and Ian Watson was busy as always, almost getting David Mills over. But Leigh’s defence was superb at times and when they got the chance, Matt Gardner edged them further ahead eight minutes after the restart when a slick handling move enabled him cross in the corner for Ridyard to goal superbly from the touchline.

And when Gardner blasted in for his second try on 62 minutes Leigh had the breathing space they needed.

But Swinton were desperate to get back in the game and on 77 minutes Swinton finally found the gap to grab a Holland try that gave them a deserved bonus point as Shaw added the conversion.

It had been tough and uncompromising, but Leigh had a vital win.

Swinton Lions:

Tries : Penny (12), Holland (73)

Goals : Shaw 2/2

Leigh Centurions: McNally, Maden, Littler, Gardner, O’Donnell, Ridyard, Beswick Ostick, Penkywiocz, Parker, Finnigan, Goulden, Aspinwall. Subs all used: Brierley, Hopkins, Duffy, Thornley.

Tries : McNally (4), Ridyard (21), Gardner (48,62)

Goals : Ridyard 2/4

Half Time; 6-10

Ref : Thierry Alibert

Att : 1,172.

Leigh 42 Workington 22

Leigh completed a bumper Easter with success over Workington that made it four wins in a row and keeps them in touch with the pacesetters.

The Centurions had seven different tryscorers in Bob Beswick, James Taylor, John O’Donnell, Sam Hopkins, Tommy Goulden, Gregg McNally and Michael Ostick while Martyn Ridyard kicked all seven conversions.

Karl Olstrum, Kris Coward, Carl Forber and Jarrad Stack scored tries for the visitors, who trailed 16-4 at half-time.