Featherstone Rovers 10 Leigh Centurions 29
LEIGH Centurions cemented their place at the top of the Kingstone Press Championship with an impressive victory at Featherstone.
It stretched Leigh’s winning run in 2014 to 12 - the longest in the sport - but more than anything acted as a warning sign to the rest of the Championship that Paul Rowley’s side are the real deal this season.
Four unanswered second half tries proved decisive for Leigh who raced into a 29-4 lead with 13 minutes remaining.
Cameron Pitman, Gregg McNally, Liam Kay and Ryan Brierley all scored as Leigh made great use of playing downhill after the restart.
It was 4-4 at half-time - both sides scoring an unconverted try each. After a tight opening, Featherstone broke the deadlock in the 10th minute. Fast hands to the left from Greg Worthington resulted in Ben Hellwell racing to the corner from 20 metres. Kyle Briggs was unable to convert.
The home side continued to dominate but were thwarted by some ferocious line defence from Leigh.
After the restart it was one-way traffic as Leigh looked to record a second win over Featherstone in eight days after beating them in the fifth round of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup at the Sports Village.
Centurions went ahead for the first time eight minutes into the second half. Australian centre Cameron Pitman fended off a couple of would-be tackles to score in the corner after taking Martyn Ridyard’s pass. Ridyard also added the conversion.
Two minutes later, Leigh carved open the Rovers defence again as Kurt Haggerty made a superb break before passing to the supporting Gregg McNally who finished off. Another Ridyard conversion made it 16-4 to the visitors.
With Centurions well on top and the win looking likely, the next objective was to deny Featherstone a bonus point. With 19 minutes remaining, another major contribution from the impressive Haggerty saw him produce a sublime pass in the tackle to the alert Liam Kay who scored in the corner. Ridyard added the extras from the touchline.
Leigh continued to turn the screw with a Brierley drop goal then from the restart, Brierley went over after taking a great ball from Bob Beswick. Ridyard’s fourth conversion made it 29-4 to Leigh.
Featherstone’s frustrations were evident when a brawl broke out following the restart. The incident was put on report but Leigh’s Matt Sarsfield and Will Sharp of Featherstone were sent off by referee Chris Leatherbarrow.
With time almost up, Featherstone scored a second try through Andy Kain, converted by Briggs but it couldn’t take the shine off a memorable Leigh performance.
Leigh: McNally, Higson, Pitman, Armstrong, Kay, Ridyard, Brierley, Spencer, Beswick, Hopkins, Sarsfield, Haggerty, Emmitt. Subs: Penkywicz, Acton, Wilkes, Barlow
Tries: Kay 2, Pitman, Haggerty, Brierley
Goals: Ridyard 4 (from 5 attempts). Brierley DG
Featherstone: Hardman, Sharp, Worthington, Mendeika, Hellewell, Briggs, Kain, Crossley, Ellis, Hirst, Cording, Spears, Lockwood. Subs: Flanagan, Bussey, Bennion, Pick
Tries: Hellewell, Kain
Goals: Briggs 1 (from 2 attempts)
Weather: Overcast but dry
Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow