London Broncos 29 Leigh Centurions 20
LEIGH Centurions’ club record winning run is finally over - ended in London at 27 games.
In what was Paul Rowley’s side’s first defeat since July 2014, the Broncos raced into a 22-4 lead and although Centurions got back within a converted score they struggled to build pressure in the second half.
A charge down try by Jamie Thackray midway through the second half re-opened a 12 point gap which proved decisive.
London dominated the opening exchanges and scored three tries, two of them converted to lead 16-0.
Oscar Thomas opened the scoring in the ninth minute with an audacious break and dummy which ripped through the Leigh defence. Wes Naiqama
added the conversion.
More off the cuff play from the home side created the space for Iliess Macani to score in the right corner and again, Naiqama kicked the extras.
Leigh found themselves 16-0 down in the 23rd minute. Again it was Macani doing the damage with a powerful break towards the corner and scoring out wide.
The introduction of Bob Beswick in place of Micky Higham gave the Leigh attack some fresh impetus and they scored their first try 12 minutes before half-time. Martyn Ridyard and Ryan Brierley combined to get Jonny Pownall in at the corner.
Virtually from the restart, London replied with their fourth try from Naiqama which he also converted to extend their lead to 22-4.
But Leigh gave themselves hope with two tries in five minutes before half-time. Pownall squeezed in for his second and then Armstrong finished well. With Ridyard converting both, London led 22-16 at half-time.
Centurions started the second half positively but failed to create a clear scoring chance against a determined London defence. Having soaked up some intense pressure, London caught a break when a kick was charged down and Thackray won the race for the ball, scoring under the posts. Naiqama added the extras.
A well-timed pass from Brierley got Gregg McNally over out wide but Ridyard was unable to goal. With the deficit at eight points, Leigh still had a chance but London continued to press and with nine minutes remaining, Elliot Minchella dropped a goal.
There was some frantic play from Leigh in the closing moments but they could not close the gap and London hung on for a famous victory.
McNally, Pownall, Worthington, Armstrong, Kay, Ridyard, Brierley, Emmitt, Higham, Wilkes, Dixon, Goulden, Barlow. Subs: Beswick, Haggerty, Spencer, Hopkins
London: Kear, Williams, Hellewell, Naiqama, Macani, Thomas, Gilmore, Lovegrove, Henderson, Thackray, Harrison, Garside, Minchella. Subs: Nasso, Wallace, Everett, Dollapi
Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow
Weather: Warm and sunny