Leigh Centurions 48 Barrow Raiders 16
Leigh Centurions ruthlessly crushed the gallant resistance of Barrow Raiders in this opening Northern Rail Cup tie to keep a firm grip on the Trophy they won last year.
But the Championship One side did give Leigh a hard time of it in the first period before the home side derailed their ambitions in a devastating start to the second half when sweeping in for four unanswered tries.
The Raiders had doggedly kept Leigh at bay in the first half and were desperately unlucky to trail at half time as Liam Harrison, Daniel Toal and James Dandy were a constant threat and Darren Holt and Andy Ballard sought the openings.
But in the second period, Leigh’s half back John Duffy and his partner Martyn Ridyard started to find the men to go through the gaps and the strong running of Tommy Goulden, Greg McNally, Stuart Littler and Sam Hopkins gave Leigh the edge.
There were also strong showing off the bench for young hooker Anthony Nicholson and Ryan Brierley as Leigh swept aside the resistance of the Barrow side.
Barrow got off to a dream start when they attacked down the right and Harrison lobbed a pass to Toal, who stepped inside to race 25 metres in for the opening try that Holt then goaled in the third minute.
Leigh responded by laying siege to the Barrow line where terrific defence kept Duffy, Bibey and finally McNally at bay throughout three sets of six.
Both sides were trying to give the ball air, and it took a great tackle from Dandy to hold Leigh’s Beswick over the Barrow line, and Parker felt the full force of a Gordon hit as he lost the ball when trying to go under the posts on the 20 minute mark.
Finally Leigh did crack the Raiders defence on 24 minutes when Duffy and Ridyard combined to send Goulden crashing in for a try which Ridyard goaled to tie the scores.
There were plenty of errors but there were chances too, Ballard being brought back after Harrison put him away, because of a perceived obstruction, before Gallagher had the ball ripped out as he plunged at the try line at the other end. But from that penalty, Duffy’s inside pass sent Littler crashing in for a Ridyard goaled try and the lead on 31 minutes.
Within three minutes Leigh had scored again as Duffy’s kick ricocheted off Campbell and gave Leigh another set of six, on the first of which Worrincy stretched out for a third Ridyard goaled try.
Just on the hooter Toal burst through the middle of the Leigh defence on half way, then found Ballard, who used Campbell on his left to then put Nickson over in the corner and Barrow were back in it when trailing 18-10 at the break.
From then on it was all Leigh as McNally’s long pass put McGilvray in on the right wing for Ridyard to goal.
Within minutes Littler was cutting through for a fifth Leigh try and Ridyard goal. Straight from the restart, Nicholson burst through and sent Brierley racing 50 metres to score with the first touch of the ball and then add the extras.
Parker bulldozed his way over on the hour as Barrow tired and then Brierley was first to Duffy’s kick for an eighth try on 71 minutes.
Barrow claimed a consolation try from Campbell but it was Leigh very much in command.