Leigh East 24 Thatto Heath 44

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On Saturday East opened their NCL campaign at home against last season’s champions Thatto Heath and were outplayed for the majority of the game.

Thatto scored in their first set when former Leigh player Keiron Maddocks made a break on half way and exchanged passes with ex Widnes player Darren Woods to open the defence for his first try. Anthony Bate took a short ball from scrum half Chris Frodsham ten out to increase the lead to 12-0 on 10 minutes, Sean Quinn improving both tries.

East finally responded eighteen minutes in when Danny Kilshaw put a high ball to the corner and winger Andrew Groves timed his run to perfection to catch and ground. Adrian Dootson converting.

From the restart East knocked on and Thatto took advantage from the scrum, Maddocks scoring from acting half on the second tackle.

The visitors further increased their lead on the half hour when a Maddocks chip to the corner on the last tackle comfortably taken by Bate for a stroll over the line.

As half time approached East started their comeback, an inside ball five yards from Thatto line by Danny Kilshaw for ex Leigh player Lee Rowley to power through three to score the try Kerrod Selmes adding the goal to take the teams in at East 12 Thatto 24.

Within three minutes of the restart Kilshaw again pinpointed another ball to the in goal this time Groves tapping jumping high to tap the ball back from the dead ball line into Brad Hargreaves hands for the try, Selmes again landing the extras. East levelled the score with thirty minutes remaining, former Leigh Academy forward Ryan O’Toole came off a Kieron Dainty pass at pace to score.

East looked to be in with a chance but Thatto struck back with tries by Bates to complete his hat trick, an interception try by Woods close to the East line and a last minute try by Dave Pike. Quinn finishing with seven conversions and a penalty.

This Saturday East are at home against Bradford Dudley Hill in the Carnegie Challenge Cup R2. (ko 2.30pm).