Leigh boss Rowley left to rue missed opportunities as historic run ends

Leigh boss Paul Rowley
Leigh boss Paul Rowley

Leigh boss Paul Rowley said his side were “off the pace” after they suffered their first league defeat of the season at Doncaster.

Centurions had won their previous 18 games in the Kingstone Press Championship but suffered a second half collapse at Doncaster - letting slip a 16-6 lead to lose 24-16.

The loss of scrum half Ryan Brierley with a leg injury as he scored Leigh’s second try left Centurions with a makeshift half-back partnership of Gregg McNally and Bob Beswick - normally a full-back and hooker respectively. Martyn Ridyard was again unfit to play.

Leigh had endured some close calls in recent weeks - especially against Dewsbury and Sheffield - but found a way to win. Today they ran out of luck.

“I don’t subscribe to this idea that we needed a loss,” said Rowley. “We have enough class and character to come back strongly.

“But there is only so much adversity one team can take. We had no half-backs and three players were carrying injuries. You can only go so far. The incentive of being the first team to beat us gives the opposition a little bit more and so it proved.

“Some players really dug in for us,” said Rowley. “We had probably six really good opportunities in that second half but didn’t take them. Certain players were off the pace mentally.

“We are disappointed to lose but fair play to Doncaster who showed a lot of grit and determination and a real will to win. I thought we were on the wrong end of some tough calls and there were some massive inconsistencies. I will have to look at those incidents on the video.”