LEIGH Centurions are tonight 12 points clear at the top of the Kingstone Press Championship after a dramatic win over Sheffield at the Sports Village.
The victory, coupled with defeat for nearest rivals Featherstone at Rochdale, was greeted with relief by Centurions boss Paul Rowley.
“I thought our first half was one of our best of the season,” said Rowley referencing Leigh’s 26-6 interval lead before something of a second half collapse.
“I was made up with our team’s effort and the game was developing into a real arm wrestle,” he said.
“In the second half it was a real contrast. I thought we went soft on ourselves and we went into tick and pass mode.
“But we have showed an X factor to pull it out of the bag at the end.
I think today sees the end of a lull after the Challenge Cup quarter final defeat to Leeds. We have found another gear and are ready to go
Centurions had looked on course for a routine win at one stage but were almost the victims of a great comeback from Sheffield who, while back to back Champions, have been inconsistent in 2014.
“To do the double over the Champions is a great effort from us,” said Rowley who was highly critical of the way the game was officiated by referee Warren Turley and his assistants.
“I thought the 10 metre and the ruck control was the worst I’ve seen this season,” he said. “I don’t think people pay their money to come and watch a game like that. I can deal with what my players do but some things are out of my control. The way the game was officiated was not good at all. We want to play a fast game and Mark Aston (the Sheffield coach) will say the same.”
Half-back Martyn Ridyard and co-captain Oliver Wilkes didn’t play because of injuries but they are expected to be back for Leigh’s trip to Doncaster on Sunday.