Leigh Centurions 31 Featherstone Rovers 12
LEIGH extended their club record winning run to 26 with a dominant display against a Featherstone side which played most of the game with 12 men in the final game of the Summer Bash weekend in Blackpool.
Gregg McNally scored a hat-trick as Leigh recovered from an early deficit to lead 31-6 early in the second half.
Featherstone prop Paul Wood was sent off in the 26th minute after an apparent gouging offence against Bob Beswick who was sin-binned for retaliation.
It was one of several unsavoury incidents in a game which also saw yellow cards for Liam Kay and Gareth Hock of Leigh and Featherstone’s Gareth Moore.
Featherstone scored on their first attack of the game, Ben Blackmore squeezing in at the corner after some quick passing to the right had unlocked the Centurions defence. Paul Sykes added the conversion.
Leigh were not behind for long, they levelled the scores in the 11th minute when Ryan Brierley made a telling break and as he slipped to his knees popped up a pass for McNally to collect and score. Martyn Ridyard added the extras.
The try gave Leigh a bit of a boost and they almost scored again when Kay looked to ground Ridyard’s kick to the corner but it was disallowed by the video ref for an earlier obstruction.
Hock was lucky not to be at least sinbinned after lashing out in the tackle and it only served to pour petrol on what had already been a volatile affair.
A flashpoint in the 25th minute saw both teams reduced to 12 men - Wood of Featherstone given a straight red after clashing with Beswick who was perhaps unluckily sinbinned. Ridyard kicked the resultant penalty.
McNally scored a second try from close range six minutes before half-time which Ridyard converted and with the half almost over, Brierley kicked a drop goal to make it 15-6.
Leigh scored twice within six minutes of the restart to effectively end the game as a contest. First quick hands to left allowed centre Greg Worthington to score against his former club. Then Higham with a trademark ‘ferret’ from dummy half got himself over for a try on his second debut. Ridyard added the extras.
McNally completed his hat-trick moments later, finishing off a great move from the scrum and Ridyard’s conversion from touch made it 31-6.
Both sides were temporarily down to 12 men when Hock was sinbinned for lashing out only for Featherstone’s Moore to be yellow carded for lashing out.
Kay was also sinbinned for obstruction eight minutes from time and Featherstone capitalised with a try from centre Ian Hardman which Sykes converted.
Leigh: McNally, Pownall, Platt, Worthington, Kay, Ridyard, Brierley, Moimoi, Beswick, Emmitt, Dixon, Goulden, Barlow. Subs: Higham, Wilkes, Hopkins, Hock.
Featherstone: Hitchcox, Blackmore, Hardman, Minns, Sharp, Sykes, Moore, Baldwinson, Ellis, Wood, Maitua, Cording, James. Subs: Teasdale, Bostock, Carvell, Verlinden.
Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow