Centurions season ends on a sour note

Ben Reynolds on his way to scoring Leigh's only try at Widnes. Photo: Paul McCarthy Photography
Ben Reynolds on his way to scoring Leigh's only try at Widnes. Photo: Paul McCarthy Photography
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Leigh’s dismal play-off run continued as they were dismantled at Widnes.

Denis Betts’ side eased to nine-try 50-6 victory over Leigh to leave the one-time promotion favourites with only one win from seven matches in the Super League qualifiers.

Leigh took the lead with an early Ben Reynolds try but the Vikings hit back to stroll to victory in the first match between the clubs since 2011, with Patrick Ah Van, Kevin Brown, Charly Runciman and Paddy Flynn replying with touchdowns to give the hosts a 20-6 interval lead.

The Vikings, who handed youngster Jay Chapelhow his debut off the bench, added further tries in the second half from Alex Gerrard, Rhys Hanbury, Joe Mellor, Ah Van and Jack Owens with Danny Tickle booting five goals and Owens another two.

There was nothing but pride at stake for Leig, who were hotly fancied to figure in the “million pound” promotion showdown which will now be contested by Wakefield and Bradford next Saturday.

Leigh had managed to beat only Sheffield in the qualifiers before the trip to Widnes - with crucial defeats by Halifax and Bradford.

The Vikings did not include any of their players leaving at the end of the season - Phil Joseph, Willie Isa, Chris Clarkson, Paul Johnson or Ben Kavanagh.

Leigh stunned Widnes by snatching a fifth-minute lead when Reynolds collected Liam Kay’s well judged cross field kick on the full to romp over with Ryan Brierley converting.

Kay streaked clear after a mistake by the Vikings and looked a certain scorer before being surprisingly recalled with Leigh awarded the scrum.

It was a let-off for shaky Widnes who then lost Aaron Heremaia, who was helped off in a daze after a heavy tackle.

But Heremaia’s replacement Lloyd White created the chance for Brown to send Ah Van over in the corner after 15 minutes with Tickle just off target with the kick.

Widnes managed to go ahead for the first time after 23 minutes when Brown used all his experience and class to dance through the defence with Tickle’s conversion making it 10-6.

Leigh were down to 12 men on the half hour with Gareth Hock sin binned for a high tackle on Hanbury and Widnes took advantage of the extra man for Runciman to race onto White’s pass and stretch the lead to 14-6.

The Vikings added a fourth try with Hock still in the bin, with Flynn burrowing over in the corner and Tickle’s goal making it 20-6 at the break.

Runciman had a second try ruled out early in the second half before Gerrard sidestepped Gregg McNally from a Manase Manuokafoa pass to score after another high tackle by Hock.

Then Brown picked up a loose ball to send Hanbury racing 80 metres to score a spectacular try and extend the advantage to 32-6.

Mellor had too much pace for the Leigh defence after 66 minutes to add a seventh try before Ah Van powered over Brierley for his second touchdown.

Owens completed the scoring with the Vikings ninth try two minutes from time.