LEIGH Centurions put Widnes Vikings to the sword with a breath-taking second half display that left the Super League franchise favourites devastated on the final hooter.
The Vikings could have had no inkling of the way they were to be savagely destroyed by a magnificent second stanza showing as they went into the break with a 16-8 lead.
But for the second successive week, Leigh roared back to keep their line intact through that second 40 minutes – this time running in an incredible unanswered 46 points to further their fans belief that this could be a season where silverware is very much theirs for the taking.
With a Super League licence announcement set for today (Thursday), such a heavy mauling was the last thing that the Widnes side wanted.
But Leigh gave a timely reminder that they will certainly be gunning for such elevated status themselves when the next franchise agreements become available in three years time.
Leigh had top shows from Tommy Goulden a powerful force in the back row and hat trick half back Martyn Ridyard, but this was fundamentally a top all round team effort with the spirit in the camp showing through in their second half demolition job.
The home side had started strongly and taken the lead in the 15th minute when the lively Jamie Ellis put in a clever kick that Mick Nanyn gathered for an ungoaled try.
Widnes hit back with a Simon Finnigan try that Steve Tyrer goaled and should have scored again but for Tangi Ropati losing the ball when seemingly put clear.
Leigh responded to the let off with Ridyard’s first score, but it was Widnes who were having the better of these exchange despite the best efforts of Chris Hill, Tyrone McCarthy and Stuart Littler.
The visitors engineered that eight point half time advantage when Chaz I’Anson scored off an Anthony Thackeray high kick and then winger Paddy Flynn benefited from a mis-fielded grubber, for a third Widnes try.
Tyrer added his second goal and Leigh looked to have a tough job on for the second half. Goulden had different ideas and almost from the restart a great Nanyn break found the Leigh second rower in support and he pounded over for a Nanyn goaled try.
Within six minutes more fierce Leigh defensive work saw Ridyard snap up Thomas Coyle’s lofted pass to race 50 metres for a lead grabbing try and his second and that really changed the dynamics of the game as Leigh played some scintillating rugby to rip through the Widnes defence.
Dual registered Tyrone McCarthy was proving unstoppable and he blasted in for two more tries before McGilvray was the beneficiary of terrific inter-passing between Ridyard and Nanyn.
Ridyard side-stepped in for his hat trick try on 64 minutes and the fans were in seventh heaven as the points piled up with the ever-threatening Chris Hill and then young Sam Hopkins charging in for further tries as Nanyn landed his seventh goal against one of his former clubs.
This was a cracking win for Leigh in every sense to push them three points clear at the top of the table.