We’re off to a winning start this season in the qualifying 8s and have now already equalled our points tally of last year.
The corresponding fixture last year was Bradford at home, who finished second, which we lost effectively ending any chances of the Million Pound Game.
Our opening fixture last year was against Hull KR who we led before falling away, scoring only a penalty conversion in the second half.
This time round we seemed to have better game management with the territorial kicking of Drinky and Riddy, and although our performance wasn’t up to scratch we seemed to be comfortable at 34-8.
Last year I got picked up from the Lakes where I was camping with the family to watch the game and had a very sombre return journey that year.
With 11 minutes to go it suddenly started to look like a re-run of that return journey as we completely fell away, almost reminiscent of what happened at Bradford earlier in the year.
Boy was I glad to hear that final hooter and embark on what was a completely contrasting return journey to the Lakes.
I had watched the first half of the Featherstone v Leeds fixture before being picked up and thought Featherstone had given a good account of themselves, and were very much in the fight.
I thought they perhaps would have been more so but for a few errors and this was against arguably the strongest side Leeds have fielded all year. I was therefore surprised to learn of the final score that sees Leeds lay down the gauntlet of their intentions in many respects.
I listened on the radio to Salford v Huddersfield and Hull KR v Batley from the Lakes and it was soon apparent that Hull KR were going to take advantage of home soil, although Batley themselves scored some points, which will give them some confidence as we all know how difficult they are to beat at Mount Pleasant.
The tie of the round was without doubt the Super League head-to-head though to me this was a massive game for both clubs.
All Super League sides will realise the importance of beating all four Championship sides, so the big games that make the difference are the head-to-heads.
I watched this on video last night (Monday) and Salford were worthy of their win which sets them up nicely for their visit to us.
This fixture is eagerly anticipated as so far this season we haven’t met a Super League side.
Last year we beat Salford in the Challenge Cup but it was a side at the time depleted with injuries and suspensions that saw them lose Dobson and Sau, with Paterson having to play the pivot role.
We got the win at the death when a wayward pass saw us obtain unlikely possession to score the winning try.
Whilst we are also significantly stronger than we were in that game last year, I can’t help but feel that we will not only need a solid performance with minimal penalties and high completion.
But we will also need that similar stroke of luck to overcome a side that shouldn’t even be in the qualifying 8s.
I feel it would be so much different if it was the Wildcats visiting us, but that isn’t to be as the points have already been deducted and appealed and we will go into this game giving it everything we have got to make it two wins in a row.
I hope the 4,000 Leigh fans return in the same vociferous support for this one. I have never heard the North Stand so loud before - it was outstanding.
While Salford have been struggling for support, with only 2,000 watching their victory over Huddersfield, I would like to think that they will bring sufficient fans to make an impact in the South Stand and generate a real good atmosphere.
My mate Marwan won’t be present as he is enjoying a holiday with his family. We have both wished each other well for the competition hoping each other will be in Super League next year but with the clear understanding that our teams are fully committed against each other this weekend.
And we are both desperate to achieve victory over the other. It’s a massive game for both sides and if Salford win you would have to fancy them with four points and three Championship sides to face to get the required 10 points.
If we were to win we will have claimed that Super League scalp necessary and will grow in confidence from the position where it would be in our own hands. I really can’t wait for this one!
Riding with the wounded for walking with the wounded.
Club sponsor Park Leisure rode into the Leigh Sports Village on Monday accompanied by our very own Andy Reid, Jamie Acton and Neil Jukes.
They were approaching the half-way mark of a 1,000 mile bike ride which also encompasses additional activities like a triathlon, an army assault course, and Monday’s activity – the climbing of mount Snowdon.
Gary, Miles, James and Olly were all a little weary as they pulled into the Toby Carvery to be met by Andy, whom after a quick five-minute chat with them was leading them back full of energy to the Leigh Sports Village on his hand powered bike.
This was before they took a tour of the stadium and a well-earned pint!
All the boys were massively impressed with Andy and what he has achieved but more so his dedication to helping others.
They all felt it was the highlight of their trip so far and brought home the reality of what they were supporting in their quest to raise 100k for the charity.
Anybody wanting to assist the boys in reaching this magnificent total can do so by visiting: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/Park-Leisure2016