Leigh Centurions 52 Featherstone Rovers 18
FUIFUI Moimoi and Ryan Brierley both scored hat-tricks as Leigh cemented their position at the top of the Kingstone Press Championship with a hugely impressive display against top four rivals Featherstone.
Centurions had trailed 12-6 after the visitors made a great start and it looked like three games in eight days might be about to catch up with Paul Rowley’s men.
But they produced the perfect response with four tries in 13 minutes before the break to turn the game on its head.
The home side had opened the scoring after seven minutes through a Moimoi try from close range converted by Martyn Ridyard.
Featherstone were soon level. Centre Brad England was quickest to react to a kick ingoal, grounding the ball as Leigh seemed content to it run dead. Paul Sykes added the extras.
Rovers were controlling the rucks with their quick play-the-balls and willingness to get the ball to the wings at every opportunity. The forwards were also enjoying themselves with Paul Wood and Tim Spears heavily involved.
Their pressure was rewarded in the 23rd minute when the impressive Reni Maitua doing the damage with a driving run before offloading to the supporting Ian Hardman who scored by the posts. Sykes added the extras.
But Leigh produced a superb response, scoring four tries before half-time. Former Rovers centre Greg Worthington went in at the corner before Gregg McNally showed clever footwork to score after back-to-back penalties had taken Centurions deep inside the Featherstone half. Ridyard was unable to convert but Leigh regained the lead straight from the restart. A quickfire attack saw McNally and Ridyard combine to send Brierley racing clear. Ridyard again converted.
Just before half-time, Leigh scored their fifth try. Again it was Brierley on the end of a stunning multi-player attack where Sam Barlow and McNally played crucial roles. Ridyard’s conversion made it 28-12 at the break.
Tongan prop Moimoi completed his hat-trick within nine minutes of the restart with two drives to the line and Featherstone’s challenge was now one of damage limitation. Brierley claimed his hat-trick with a long range interception try. All Rovers could offer in reply was a try 10 minutes from the end when Sykes set up Blackmore with an infield pass. Sykes also added the extras.
With time almost up, Leigh brought up the half century with a Gareth Hock try, goaled by Jake Emmitt.
Leigh: McNally, Pownall, Worthington, Armstrong, Kay, Ridyard, Brierley, Moimoi, Beswick, Emmitt, Haggerty, Dixon, Hock. Subs: Higham, Barlow, Wilkes, Hopkins
Featherstone:Hardman, Blackmore, Sykes, England, Hitchcox, Cooke, Moore, Baldwinson, Ellis, Wood, Cording, Maitua, Spears. Subs: Cooper, Ormondroyd, Bussey, Foster
Refreee: Chris Kendal
Weather: Dry and sunny