York City Knights 20 Leigh Centurions 66
Leigh Centurions claimed fourth spot in the Cooperative Championship with this 12 try crushing of struggling York City Knights.
But they had to overcome dogged resistance from the basement club before Leigh finally showed their class with top class scores on the back of some thrilling approach play.
The Centurions had Martin Ridyard again in excellent form with the return of John Duffy ensuring that the Leigh half backs readily found the strong running Tommy Goulden, Sam Hopkins and Andy Thornley , who all impressed in an all-round top pack show.
The only down side on a hot afternoon in more ways than one was a couple of late tries conceded when Leigh took their foot off the gas. But with the 50 point mark surpassed for the second successive outing, it meant that it was enough to boost Leigh’s points average and move them ahead of Batley with a game in hand.
In the past a trip to York has presented considerable problems for Leigh, and when the home side forced Leigh back with an excellent 40/20 from the boot of their general, Chris Thorman, the visiting fans were stunned when hooker Jack Lee forced his way over for an ungoaled try in only the second minute.
Leigh response came quickly enough with the ball being worked wide for Ridyard‘s looped pass to send Matt Gardner in at the corner to level the scores.
The Knights continued to push Leigh back, aided by a strong wind at their backs and Thorman’s kicking, but then Ridyard intercepted on his own 10 metre line and raced 90 metres for a try he goaled to lead. Yet the Knights hit back again as prop Adam Sullivan barged over close to the posts and Thorman added the extras to tie the scores once more.
Leigh were having to dig deep and the introduction of Tom Spencer, Thornley and Craig Briscoe pushed fresh impetus into the side as a series of powerful drives up the middle enabled Duffy and Ridyard to combine for Greg McNally to link and go in for a third Leigh try.
But the crucial period was a three try blast in five minutes before the break when Ridyard stepped through for his second try, Goulden blasted in two minutes later and Briscoe scored on the last play from a tap penalty. With Ridyard gaoling, Leigh led 32-10 at the break.
York came out with all guns blazing in the second spell, but again Leigh weathered the storm with Anthony Nicholson lively at dummy half and Rob Parker making good metres. It was McNally who set Leigh on the try trail again on 46 minutes and they never looked back.
Hopkins powered over on 52 minutes, and York’s cause was not helped by full back Tim Bush being yellow carded for arguing with the referee. Incredibly Leigh scored only one more try through Thornley, when York were down to 12 men.
But after that Nicholson got a superb try of his own and Ryan Brierley claimed the 11th.
York grabbed late tries through subs Kris Brining and Darrio Esposito, but as the hooter sounded it was Stuart Littler blasting in for the 12th try and Ridyard’s ninth goal completed an excellent job on a hot afternoon in the sun for the Leigh lads.
York City Knights
Tries: Lee (2), Sullivan (15), Brining (72), Esposito (79).
Goals: Thorman 2/4
Sin bin Tom Bush (52), dissent.
Leigh Centurions: McNally; Maden, Littler, Henderson, Gardner; Ridyard, Duffy; Ostick, Nicholson, Parker, Leuluai, Goulden, Hopkins; subs (all used): Brierley, Thornley, Briscoe, Spencer.
Tries: Gardner (6), Ridyard (12, 35), McNally (24, 46), Goulden (38), Briscoe (40), Hopkins (52), Thornley (59), Nicholson (63), Brierley (67), Littler (80)
Goals: Ridyard 9/12.
Referee: George Stokes