Last gasp glory for Centurions youngsters

Leigh Centurions U20s celebrate winning the Grand Final against Sheffield. Photo: Brian King
Leigh Centurions U20s celebrate winning the Grand Final against Sheffield. Photo: Brian King
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Leigh U20s 32 Sheffield Eagles U20s 28

A LAST minute try from Josh Swift saw Leigh snatch victory in a pulsating U20s Grand Final against Sheffield at the Sports Village on Friday.

The Centurions centre launched himself to ground a grubber kick to the corner by Jamie Tracey, finally settling an epic final in front of nearly 1,000 fans.

Leigh topped the league at the end of the regular season losing just one game but for long periods on Friday it looked like they were going to fall at the final hurdle.

Swift and Tracey scored twice in the first 15 minutes with Ward converting the latter to give Leigh a 10-0 lead. But Sheffield led by half-time after tries from Jack Blagbrough and Kadeem Williams. Callum Butler added both conversions.

Centurions came out in determined mood for the second half and scored twice in six minutes. Ward’s one on one steal saw him score by the posts and add the goal before a Corey Lee break set up Sam Baggaley for a fine try.

An eight point gap was never going to be enough for Leigh against a skillful Sheffield side and so it proved. Corey Aston set up winger John Hale for a try in the corner in the 50th minute then a try from Ryan Millar tied things up again at 20-20. Butler’s touchline conversion gave Sheffield a 22-20 lead with 23 minutes remaining.

First team regular Cameron Pitman produced a cool finish from 15 metres to score 14 minutes from time though Ward was off target with the extras.

Sheffield looked to have struck the decisive blow when Aston scored eight minutes from the end, Butler’s goal wrestling back the lead 28-26.

The final few minutes saw the pressure get to both sides and chances came and went - Leigh’s Sam Peet was particularly unlucky to have a try disallowed for a forward pass.

With time almost up, a penalty for a high tackle gave Centurions some good field position and in a desperate last attack, Tracey kicked to the corner and Swift was quickest to react and scored in the corner.

Leigh: Lee, Pitman, Harper, Baggaley, Swift, Pendlebury, Ward, Duffy, Wilkinson, Rowe, Peet, Tracey, Hankinson. Subs: Foster, Warburton, Liku, Halton

Sheffield: McGinn, Hale, Medforth, Newby, Millar, Aston, Butler, Gonzalez, Burns, Scott, Ashton, Williams, Palmer. Subs: Lilleywhite, Blagbrough, Stock, Kenga