Centurions make it four from four

Gregg McNally scores a try for Leigh Centurions at Doncaster. Photo: Brian King.
Gregg McNally scores a try for Leigh Centurions at Doncaster. Photo: Brian King.

Doncaster 18 Leigh Centurions 54

LIAM kay scored four tries as Leigh cemented their place at the top of the Kingstone Press Championship with a comfortable win at Doncaster.

Centurions haven’t lost a game since their last visit to the Keepmoat Stadium in July when Doncaster became the first and as it turned out only team to beat them in a league game in 2014.

But there was no chance of such an upset as Leigh raced into a 26-0 lead after just half an hour.

Winger Kay scored three of his four tries in the second half while there were two from Ryan Brierley who is now just a couple short of his century for the club. Leigh scored some sensational long range efforts as they picked up their fourth win from four at the start of the season but coach Paul Rowley wasn’t entirely satisfied.

“Doncaster weren’t as fortunate as they have been with dual reg players and also had their regular half-backs missing,” said Rowley.

“I thought we came up with some moments of magic but there were some bizarre decisions and the game was pretty stop-start overall.

“But to score 50-odd points at a ground which was not a happy hunting ground for us last year has certainly laid that ghost to rest. We are top of the league after four out of four and it sets us up nicely. At times we put a show on for the strong Leigh following.

“I was concerned that we were scoring so many tries from long range. I’d like to see us use a bit more patience and build pressure to get better field positions. I don’t want to curb how we express ourselves but we have got to be better at the end of our sets.”

Doncaster haven’t won a game this year while Leigh arrived on the back of a 13 game winning run stretching back to last season. There was no Fuifui Moimoi for Leigh who was attending the funeral of his nephew in the Uniited States and Tommy Goulden was still suspended. In came Jamie Acton and Tom Spencer for his first game of the season.

Centurions scored twice in the first 10 minutes to put their mark on the game. Brierley sprinted to the corner from just inside his own half after being put clear by Gregg McNally’s pass. Then Sam Barlow showed great strength to reach over and ground the ball one-handedly from close range. Martyn Ridyard converted the latter to make it 10-0.

Centurions were reduced to 12 men in the 15th minute when centre Greg Worthington was sin-binned for appearing to react to a tackle.Nonetheless Leigh continued to dominate and scored their third try in the 19th minute. Liam Kay broke dangerously up the touchline and his pass inside found McNally who finished off from 20 metres. Ridyard added the extras.

Leigh continued to press home their dominance and scored twice in four minutes. A loose pass was scooped up by Brierley and with the Doncaster defence seemingly unaware of what was going on, the scrum half dashed to the corner to score his second try.

In the 29th minute, some quick hands to the left enabled Kay to get some space and he finished off from 10 metres. Ridyard converted from touch.

With seven minutes of the half remaining, Doncaster’s Mike Emmett went over from dummy half for a try which Stewart Sanderson goaled.

Within three minutes of the restart, kay scored his second try as he followed up a powerful break from Armstrong and Ridyard again converted.

Emmett scored his and Doncaster’s second in the 52nd minute but Centurions continued to impress with their slick approach play and pace. Kay completed his hat-trick in the 55th minute before making it four as McNally and Ridyard combined in midfield to create the danger.

The try of the game came just after the hour mark when Ridyard finished a stunning, multi-player team try which started almost on the Leigh try-line. A sixth conversion from Ridyard made it 48-12.

With 11 minutes remaining, Doncaster winger Sam Doherty scored from close range and Sanderson added the goal.

But there was still time for Leigh to pass the half century mark with another superbly worked try from Armstrong; Ridyard added his seventh goal from 10 attempts.

Teams:

Leigh: McNally, Pownall, Worthington, Armstrong, Kay, Ridyard, Brierley, Emmitt, Penkywicz, Wilkes, Haggerty, Dixon, Barlow. Subs: Beswick, Spencer, Hopkins, Acton

Doncaster: Scott, Doherty, Cowling, Waterman, Sanderson, Holt, Kittrick, Robinson, Kesik, Waller, Kelly, Snitch, Carbutt. Subs: Dunn, Emmett, Spiers, Tyson-Wilson

Referee: Jamie Bloem

Weather: Showery

Pitch: Good

Attendance: 1,602