Leigh Centurions 58 Dewsbury Rams 0

Leigh have won the League Leaders' Shield for a third straight year
Leigh have won the League Leaders' Shield for a third straight year

Leigh lifted the Kingstone Press Championship Leader’s Shield for a third successive season after a dominant display against Dewsbury.

Gregg McNally scored a hat-trick inside the first 17 minutes as Leigh set the tone for a one-sided contest. Winger Adam Higson also scored a hat-trick inside 12 second half minutes.

It was just the sort of performance that Leigh coach Neil Jukes had demanded on a day of celebration with 10 tries lighting up a gloomy day at the Sports Village.

The win means the Centurions have gone three years without losing a league game at the Sports Village - an amazing record in any sport.

And while bigger challenges are ahead with the middle eights around the corner, Leigh can at least look back on a Championship season which saw them lose in the league just once - back on the first day of the season at Batley.

New signings Danny Tickle and Matty Dawson made their Leigh debuts while Willie Tonga started only his third game since joining the club during preseason.

Dewsbury had nothing to play for and it showed. Apart from them forcing back-to-back drop outs midway through the second half, the Rams rarely threatened to spoil Leigh’s party,

Only three minutes had been played when McNally scored his first try after a runaround move on the right side. Martyn Ridyard missed the conversion but went on to land the next nine.

New recruit Dawson created Leigh’s second try with an infield break which was backed up by Reni Maitua and went on to score.

A superb break through the middle by Micky Higham carved open the Dewsbury defence and McNally was on his shoulder to finish off and score his second try. McNally, who only returned from a long term injury against Sheffield a week ago, completed his hat-trick just two minutes later following a storming break from Fuifui Moimoi who had shattered the Rams defensive line.

Nine minutes before half-time, Greg Worthington was quickest to react when a pass went to ground near half-way and he raced away to the tryline. Ridyard’s fourth goal from five attempts made it 28-0 at half-time.

There was no letting up after the restart as Leigh piled on the points. Josh Drinkwater’s clever kick to the wing was caught on the full by Higson and he dived over. McNally and Ridyard combined to get Higson in for a second in the 54th minute and they same trio combined for Higson’s third try soon after.

The scoring rate slowed down as the game was stuttering to a close but Leigh still had time to rack up a half century of points. With 17 minutes remaining, Ben Reynolds went over from close range after Dayne Weston had been stopped just short.

The last word went to Higham who stepped infield after a dynamic attack down the right side which included a break from Tonga. Ridyard’s ninth goal from 10 attempts made it 58-0.

Leigh received the Leader’s Shield for a third time and with a weekend off ahead, can enjoy the celebrations before the serious business of the middle eights gets underway.

Teams

Leigh

McNally, Higson, Worthington, Tonga, Dawson, Ridyard, Drinkwater, Moimoi, Higham, Weston, Maitua, Paterson, Hansen. Subs: Reynolds, Acton, Dixon, Tickle

Dewsbury

Guzdek, Morton, Sykes, Crookes, Uaisele, Speakman, Goulding, Stringer, Hemingway, Groat, Trout, Walshaw, Adamson. Subs: Tonks, Farrell, Conroy, Hepworth

Referee: T Reid

Attendance: 3498

Pitch: Excellent

Weather: Overcast and showery