Leigh Centurions 37 Batley Bulldogs 30

Harrison Hansen goes over for a try. Photo: Brian King
Harrison Hansen goes over for a try. Photo: Brian King

Leigh scored twice in the last two minutes to snatch victory over Batley in a thrilling finish at the Sports Village.

Neil Jukes’ side trailed 25-30 with a few minutes remaining but Lee Smith and Sam Hopkins scored in quick succession to rescue the points.

Batley, the only team to defeat Leigh in a league game this season, themselves had fought back from 19-6 down early in the second half to lead 25-30 with seven minutes remaining.

It was a gripping end to a game which exploded into life late on.

Smith’s crucial try came as he backed himself by following up his own grubber to ingoal and he just managed to ground the ball to make it 29-30. A routine conversion from Martyn Ridyard edged Leigh ahead again.

And with Batley shellshocked, Leigh set up Sam Hopkins with almost the last play of the game and Ridyard’s conversion settled Leigh’s nerves.

The game took a while to get going as both sides completed their early sets without too much drama.

Batley were shading it until Leigh hit the front in the 18th minute when Ridyard’s long pass to the left was taken by Liam Kay and he slid in. Ridyard landed the conversion from the touchline.

Leigh’s lead lasted until 13 minutes from half-time when Batley winger Martin Ainscough scored from close range. Dominc Brambani added the conversion to level things at 6-6.

The visitors continued to press but it was Leigh who scored next. Jamie Acton made a barging angled run and he was able to get his pass out to Harrison Hansen who bounced over. Ridyard again kicked the conversion.

Seconds before the half-time hooter, Ridyard kicked a drop goal to extend Leigh’s lead to seven at the break.

Hansen scored a second try soon after the restart and Ridyard’s goal made it 19-6.

Alistair Leak replied for the visitors with a converted try only for Liam Hood to score a solo effort in the 56th minute. Ridyard’s goal made it 25-12 but that signalled the Batley comeback.

Tries in quick succession from Alex Bretherton, Brambani and James Harrison were all converted by Brambani and suddenly Leigh found themselves 30-25 behind.

But there was still time for another twist as Leigh scored those late tries to seal victory.

Teams

Leigh

Smith, Higson, Whiting, Armstrong, Kay, Ridyard, Chase, Emmitt, Higham, Weston, Maitua, Hock, Hansen. Subs: Hood, Hopkins, Spencer, Acton

Batley

Scott, Brown, Minkin, Casey, Ainscough, Southernwood, Brambani, Hirst, Davey, Hesketh, Chandler, Bretherton, Blake. Subs: Leak, Harrison, Lillycrop, Petersen

Referee: C Campbell

Weather: Showery

Pitch: Average

Attendance: 3389