LEIGH made sure of their place in Tuesday’s fourth round Tetley’s Challenge Cup draw with a professional performance against Wigan St Patrick’s at the Sports Village on Friday night.
Paul Rowley’s side scored 13 tries as they eased to a 74-6 victory over the amateurs in front of nearly 1,000 fans.
The Leigh coach resisted making wholesale changes for the game but did rest Oliver Wilkes, Martyn Ridyard and Bob Beswick.
“In games like that you are determined not to lose pride by having the amateurs score 20-odd points against you.
“We posted loads of tries so it was a case of mission accomplished.”
St Pat’s scored their only try in the 12th minute through full-back Jayden Sandford. Brad Smith converted well from touch.
But despite the Wigan side’s best efforts, they rarely got into scoring positions and in the second half especially were confined to defending for long periods.
Debutant Chris Hankinson scored while there were two tries each for Sean Penkywicz, Adam Higson, Jonathan Pownall, Gregg McNally and Tommy Goulden.
The return of Pownall after a close season operation was particularly pleasing for Rowley.
“It was a good sight to see Jonny on the wing pinning his ears back and having a run,” said Rowley.
“As someone with pace he can ask defenders ‘what do they not want me to do’ so there is a margin for error there which is part of his game.
“From my point of view I just want him to run and take on people and back himself.”
“I was pleased to give Chris Hankinson his debut because I wanted to see if he could put pressure on Stuart Littler in that position.
“Perhaps the most surprising thing was that we scored 13 tries and Ryan Brierley didn’t score after his incredible start to the season but that’s sport. He did kick very well though.
Rowley’s preference for Leigh’s opponents in the next round was as expected. “Anyone at home ,” he said. “I’m actually not too fussed but if we could get a big club at home I would be happy with that.”