Leigh Centurions 16 Bradford Bulls 32
LEIGH’S dreams of a return to Super League will have to wait for at least another year after they were sunk by Bradford at the Sports Village.
Despite topping the Championship table and winning a second successive League Leaders Shield, Leigh’s form in the Super 8 qualifiers has been disappointing, winning just one of their six games in the new competition.
A win against Bradford would have given them slim hope of a place in the so-called Million Pound Game and after fighting back from 10-0 down to level things at 10-10 by half-time, it appeared Leigh were still in with a shout.
But they failed to build on their fightback as Bradford produced a professional performance to seal their first win over Leigh in three attempts this season.
Leigh who were without key player Martyn Ridyard through injury made a dreadful start, Liam Kay spilling a kick return and Bradford made them pay. The ball was worked quickly to the left side and Jake Mullaney score din the corner. Jack Addy was unable to convert.
The visitors continued to dominate as Leigh were disrupted to injuries to Gareth Hock and Tommy Goulden.
Forced to defend for long periods, Centurions could not get out of their own half but the closest Bradford came to adding to their lead was when they saw a try disallowed for a forward pass in the 19th minute.
Leigh were finally undone 11 minutes before half-time. A short kick to the Centurions tryline was allowed to squirm free and Bradford winger Danny Williams pounced on the loose ball to score. Addy kicked the conversion.
Bradford continued to press but they were stunned by two tries in the two minutes before half-time. Adam Higson produced a flying finish at the corner after Bob Beswick’s long pass and virtually from the restart, Centurions piled forward again. Some quick hands to the left edge found Gregg McNally who hit a great line and score by the posts. Brierley’s goal made it 10-10 at the break.
But it was Bradford who struck first after the restart with Williams claiming a second try after taking a long pass to the corner and Addy tagged on the conversion.
Bradford continued to control the game and Addy kicked a 58th minute penalty to increase his side’s lead to eight.
Leigh were unlucky not to score moments later when Reynolds’ long ball to Kay was adjudged to have gone forward and the try was disallowed by referee Richard Silverwood.
The decision seemed to knock the stuffing out of Leigh and Bradford took full advantage with a try for Matty Blythe in the 63rd minute which Addy again goaled before adding a penalty a minute later.
Beswick scored with five minutes remaining to keep Centurions within arm’s length but with time almost up, Blythe added a second. Addy’s sixth goal from seven attempts made it 32-16 to the Bulls.
McNally, Higson, Pala, Armstrong, Kay, Reynolds, Brierley, Moimoi, Higham, Spencer, Haggerty, Goulden, Hock. Subs: Beswick, Emmitt, Pownall, Wilkes
Mullaney, Williams, Blythe, Nielsen, Clare, Purtell, Siejka, Clough, O’Brien, Sidlow, Olbison, Pitts, Addy. Subs: Ryan, Lauaki, Crossley, Ferguson
Referee: Richard Silverwood
Weather: Dry and sunny