Leigh Centurions 36 Desbury Rams 4

Neil Jukes
Neil Jukes

Two tries from Atelea Vea were the highlight of a functional seven-try victory over a hard working Dewsbury Rams in the Centurions final warm up game for Super League.

Leigh had the first chance of the game when good hands between Josh Drinkwater and Ben Reynolds saw the ball reach Ryan Hampshire, but Dewsbury scrambled to prevent the try with a fine tackle by Lucas Walshaw.

Five minutes in, Dewsbury exerted a bit of pressure but Leigh dealt with it and Willie Tonga fashioned a chance for David Thompson, only for good defence to put him in touch.

Leigh eventually made the breakthrough after 12 minutes. Ben Reynolds fed the ball wide and Hampshire shipped it on for James Clare to score in the corner.

Reynolds was unable to convert but Leigh’s defence was still pretty solid, restricting the visitors carries within their own half.

Both sides were guilty of mistakes and the first quarter would have seen Dewsbury happier as they trailed 4-0.

A couple of minutes later Leigh struck again when a low kick saw the tackle count wiped down and James Green was quickest to respond for Willie Tonga to barrell over from close range. Two minutes later Gareth Hock knocked on with the line at his mercy.

The Rams then came away from their own end with a penalty. An inventive kick by Paul Sykes saw Barnes take on the full, but the defence moved up. In the 33rd minute, the Rams had more possession but despite the wide passing of their halfbacks there was little end product and Leigh comfortably dealt with the attack. The Rams continued to work hard but the Centurions were there at every turn.

Tonga was forced from the field after picking up a knock in the art of tackling. In the minutes before half-time, the Rams began to look more threatening and Sykes fashioned an opportunity Lucas Walshaw took with great aplomb thanks to Mitch Brown’s overead in defence. Sykes was unable to convert and the Centurions led 10-4 at half-time.

Leigh opened second half scoring when Reynolds and Lewis Foster combined to get Mitch Brown over the line, but the Rams were handed field position soon after. Donald Kudangirana was put in touch but Dewsbury still came forward. A poor pass saw Foster reclaim possession for the Centurions and they cleared their lines effectively.

With Liam Hood starting to run the show, points came. Matty Dawson scored a fine try from close range before Vea finished a move from a crossfield kick after Danny Tickle was held up. Vea then followed Dayne Weston for his second and Leigh were in command at 30-4.

Despite losing Reynolds and Clare, Leigh continued to try things with Hampshire breaking the line and then kicking ahead.

Although this came to nought, Hampshire was again in the thick of it and he converted after Hopkins stormed over from 20 metres.

Leigh: Hampshire, Clare, Brown, Tonga, Thompson; Reynolds, Drinkwater; Acton, Higham, Weston, Vea, Hansen, Hock. Subs: Hood, Hopkins, Tickle, Green, Maria, Foster, Dawson.