LEIGH CENTURIONS brought the curtain down on their regular season with a rousing second half performance that sealed the points in a tough clash against relegation battling Dewsbury Rams.
This wasn’t Leigh’s most impressive win of the season, but it was hardly set to be so against a Dewsbury team that needed to grab at least a bonus point to have a chance of avoiding relegation to Championship One, while Leigh needed a big score to put pressure on Featherstone Rovers in their last game at Widnes.
But despite a spirited display, Leigh ensured they at least got the win with some powerful performances from players such as Tommy Goulden, James Taylor, Martyn Ridyard and Stuart Donlan, with Jamie Ellis and Chris Hill again coming up with key scores.
The early stages saw Dewsbury attack well with Dominic Brambani kicking well to force two drop outs, but Leigh weathered the storm and took the lead in the seventh minute with a James Taylor try that had more than a little bit of luck about it as Ellis’s kick hit the upright to wrong foot the Dewsbury defence and present an easy score for Mick Nanyn to goal.
But Dewsbury’s response was instantaneous as James Craven broke up field to be hauled down by John Duffy, before the ball was whipped to the left and Austin Buchanan palmed a ball back inside for Ayden Faal to score a try Pat Walker couldn’t goal,
Leigh roared back with Stuart Donlan crossing off Steve Nash’s pass, again Nanyn goaling, before Chris Hill was held over the Rams line unable to get the ball down. But Leigh weren’t denied for long as the ball was whipped out for Nanyn to stride in at the corner.
Dewsbury refused to lie down though and winger Michael Wainwright squeezed in at the corner after more good work from Craven, with Walker goaling from out wide, before a Rob Spicer break put Matty Nicholson in under the posts for a penalty try after Goulden was adjudged to have used his knees to dislodge the ball in the act of scoring with Walker goaling to level on 26 minutes before easing the home side ahead with a penalty as Leigh were rattled.
But again the Centurions roared back with Nanyn crashing over and adding the goal points only for it to be all square at 22-22 for the break as a Brambani kick bounced kindly for Buchanan to collect and whip in for an ungoaled try on the half time hooter.
Ridyard had a try ruled out at the start of the second half fro obstruction by Sam Hopkins, but Leigh heeded the call of coach Ian Millward to up their effort and when Dave Mills slipped the ball to Hill, the Warrington bound prop stepped and powered his way in for a 45th minute try that Nanyn goaled. Yet it was Dewsbury who kicked on and Leigh’s defence had Goulden and Ellis working overtime to keep their line intact, with a bit of good fortune as Buchanan spilled the ball when going over the try line.
Leigh dug deep and finally they got the breakthrough on 64 minutes when Ridyard put Goulden away and then supported to go under the posts for Nanyn to goal.
It was a real hard slog for Leigh as Dewsbury continued to battle, but they finally grabbed the try that put the game out of reach seven minutes from time when Ellis powered in for his 34th try of the season for Nanyn to add his sixth goal and seal the win.