Kay scores five as Leigh extend lead at the top

Leigh's Liam Kay
Leigh's Liam Kay

LIAM Kay scored five tries as Leigh recorded their 15th straight Championship win of the season.

With nearest rivals Featherstone drawing 22-22 against Doncaster, Centurions today find themselves eight points clear at the top of the table.

It was an impressive display from Centurions who had narrowly beaten Halifax in a bruising battle just days earlier. That in itself came just days after Centurions had given Super League Leeds Rhinos a scare in the quarter finals of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup.

Barrow, for whom 42-year-old player coach Bobbie Goulding lasted an hour on the pitch, will be glad to see the back of Leigh. Earlier in the season, Centurions won 52-8 at Craven Park.

The struggling Cumbrians had made a reasonable start and contained Leigh to just two unconverted tries as half-time approached.

But Leigh scored three tries in the five minutes before half-time to effectively end the game as a contest.

Paul Rowley’s side went ahead in the fourth minute. Kay crossed for his first after Leigh kept the ball alive on the last tackle.

The home side doubled their lead in the 18th minute after Martyn Ridyard and Gregg McNally combined to get Kay over for his second try.

But with Ridyard failing to convert, Leigh’s lead was only 8-0.

The game took a decisive turn just before half-time when Leigh scored three times in five minutes. Andy Thornley, a surprise inclusion in the Centurions line-up at centre, made the most of some swift passing to the left and scored in the corner.

Good link play between Sean Penkywicz and Ridyard got Brierley over and Kay completed his hat-trick right on half-time after taking Gregg McNally’s long pass. With kicker Ridyard finding his range, Centurions led 24-0 at the interval.

Leigh were even better after the break, seemingly able to switch play from one side of the other in the blink of an eye.

Oliver Wilkes sent Kay racing away for his fourth try before Anthony Bate set up Sam Hopkins to score from close range. Ridyard added both conversions to help him reach 1,000 career points.

Barrow player-coach Bobbie Goulding received the biggest cheer of the afternoon as he left the field after an hour - the Leigh fans full of praise for their former player.

Centurions continued to turn the screw with four tries in the final quarter. Penkywicz, Brierley and Pownall scored tries which Ridyard converted to take Leigh past the half century mark. With time almost up, Kay grabbed his fifth try, emulating his team-mate Brierley who scored five at Barrow earlier in the season.

Leigh: McNally, Pownall, Hankinson, Thornley, Kay, Ridyard, Brierley, Spencer, Beswick, Wilkes, Sarsfield, Goulden, Hopkins. Subs: Penkywicz, Bate, Acton, Emmitt

Tries: Kay 5, Brierley 2, Thornley, Hopkins, Penkywicz, Pownall. Goals: Ridyard 8 (from 10 attempts)

Barrow: Mort, Backhouse, Shaw, Wiper, Grant, Campbell, Goulding, Burke, Mossop, Jones, Harrison, Musolino, Toal. Subs: Lloyd, Low, Butler, Davies

Referee: Dave Merrick

Pitch: Excellent

Weather: Overcast

Attendance: 2,508