Brave Centurions push Rhinos all the way

Leeds Rhinos 25 Leigh Centurions 12

LEIGH Centurions gave Super League heavyweights Leeds Rhinos analmighty scare in a pulsating Tetley’s Challenge Cup quarter final tie

at Headingley.

The game was level at 12-12 with just four minutes remaining but Leeds scored twice in dying moments to avoid what would have been one

of the biggest upsets in the history of the famous old competition.

Robbie Ward and Zak Hardaker went over to break Leigh’s hearts who themselves had numerous opportunities in the second half.

It was a cruel way to lose the game but Leigh left the field with their heads held high and to great adulation from the proud Centurions

supporters.

Leigh arrived at Headingley on the back of a 16 game winning run - a club record - but they were missing centre Cameron Pitman and second

rower Jamie Acton through injury.

It took just six minutes for Leeds to open the scoring as quick passing to the left got Ryan Hall in at the corner. Kevin Sinfield

added the conversion.

There was joy for the hundreds of travelling Centurions fans as Leigh leveled the game in the 11th minute. Back to back penalties gave Leigh

a promising field position and Ryan Brierley’s pass gave Tom Spencer the chance to barge over for a try which Martyn Ridyard converted.

Things got even better for Leigh when they took the lead four minutes later. Kurt Haggerty’s crossfield kick was patted back by Liam Kay to

Tom Armstrong who scored in the corner. Ridyard’s conversion from the touchline made it 12-6 to Leigh after 15 minutes.

Centurions almost scored a third try in the 25th minute when Ridyard’s disguised kick through was regathered and he passed to

Brierley but he was hauled down inches short of the Leeds line.

The Super League side inevitably started to enjoy more quality possession but they had to wait until the 30 minute mark to score. The

video referee had to have a look at a try from Steve Ward, created by Liam Sutcliffe and after some deliberation, the try was given.

Sinfield’s conversion meant we were all square at 12-12 which is how it stayed until half-time despite Brierley having a drop goal attempt

go wide moments before the hooter.

At the start of the second half both sides were reduced to 12 men when Leigh’s Matt Sarsfield clashed with Jamie Peacock of Leeds. Both players were sent to the sin-bin.

Leigh had the better opportunities in the second half and Oliver Wilkes almost scored after being put through by Ridyard’s pass in the

51st minute.

There was another close call when Tommy Goulden kicked to the corner looking for Jonathan Pownall but the ball just evaded him.

Centurions kept plugging away but were undone with the late burst from Leeds which spared their blushes.

Teams

Leigh: McNally, Pownall, Higson, Armstrong, Kay, Ridyard, Brierley,

Spencer, Penkywicz, Wilkes, Sarsfield, Haggerty, Barlow. Subs:

Beswick, Emmitt, Goulden, Duffy

Tries: Spencer, Armstrong

Goals: Ridyard 2 (from 2 attempts)

Leeds: Hardaker, Briscoe, Watkins, Moon, Hall, Sinfield, Sutcliffe,

Leuluai, R Ward, Peacock, S Ward, Delaney, Bailey. Subs: Singleton,

Clarkson, Kirke, Walters

Tries: Hall, S Ward, R Ward, Hardaker

Goals: Sinfield 4 (from 4 attempts) and DG

Referee: Ben Thaler