Leigh Centurions 34
Leigh Centurions picked up two more Kingstone Press Championship points as they now turn their focus to winning the Northern Rail Cup next Saturday.
If Leigh had one eye on the forthcoming clash with Sheffield Eagles, it didn’t show, although the home side certainly gave the Centurions a tough time of it before Leigh’s class finally told for victory to be clinched with a 77th minute try from Stuart Littler.
Granted Barrow did pull back a score but that was the last act of the game and Leigh had the win and the opportunity to then turn their focus to Sheffield.
In scorching conditions the first half had been particularly eventful with Ryan Brierley celebrating his new two year contract at the club with the opening try after a superb Sam Hopkins burst on nine minutes with Martyn Ridyard goaling. With Rob Parker and Adam Higson back in the fold Leigh were celebrating the return of two key playing members, and Parker and Tommy Goulden were outstanding alongside Ridyard whose deft distribution and searching kicking game were a strong feature of the win. But Barrow were soon back level on 13 minutes when Max Wiper raced over and Kurt Haggerty added the extras.
Leigh were soon back in front as the ever threatening Ridyard launched a high kick and Tommy Goulden plucked the ball out of mid air to touchdown for Ridyard again to goal. Leigh should have kicked on and scored twice as a long pass Sean Penkywicz was too low for Pownall to take when a stroll-in try was on the cards and then a knock on close to the line ruled out an Anthony Bates try.
Barrow refused to lie down and building on the confidence of a win at York the previous week they scored twice to snatch a half time lead. Firstly substitute Brad Brennan forced his way over under the posts for Haggerty to goal and level before Liam Campbell intercepted Ridyard’s pass to race 75 metres for another Haggerty goaled try and an 18-11 interval lead.
The start of the second half saw Leigh apply pressure and after back-to-back penalties, the visitors levelled when Tom Spencer crashed over for Ridyard to add his third goal.
More penalties went Leigh’s way and Parker celebrated an impressive return by forcing his way over for Leigh to reclaim the lead. Higson was held up over the try line unable to ground the ball, but he wasn’t denied again when taking Ridyard’s well time pass to score.
Kurt Haggerty had a try ruled out for a knock-on but Stuart Littler backed up a Ridyard and Goulden break to claim the crucial sixth Leigh score to which Ridyard added his fifth goal.
Barrow bagged a bonus point with a try from ex Leigh Miners winger, Adam Clay after the hooter had sounded but it was Leigh who had the win they came for.