Youngster Ward rewarded with new Centurions deal

Leigh Centurions half back Josh Ward has committed his immediate future to the club by signing an extended contract until November 2016.

Ward, who will be 19 later this month, has been in impressive form in Paul Anderson’s reserves team this season and played a major role in their unbeaten league run. In all games Ward has also already kicked over 100 goals this season and been a regular try-scorer.

Ward came up through the junior ranks at Leigh Miners Rangers and became one of the youngest first-team players in Leigh’s history when he made his debut against Avignon in the Anglo French Challenge at LSV in 2012 at the age of 16 years and 351 days. It is thought that only Jason Donohue has made his first-team debut for the club at a younger age.

Ward follows reserve team colleagues Jamie Tracey, Lewis Foster, Chris Hankinson, Sam Baggaley, Frankie Halton and Sam Peet in signing an extended deal to the delight of Anderson.

“Josh got an early taste of first-team action and has really built on that experience,” says Anderson. “I have been impressed with the way he has matured this year, especially defensively. He works very hard on his game and is becoming a dominant pivot. When you look around the game there aren’t too many scrum-halves around with his potential. On top of that he’s an excellent goal-kicker and has a great attitude to the game.

“I know we have mentioned this a few times but Josh definitely falls into the category of young players who is a long-term project, with the potential to become a first-team regular at Leigh Centurions. It is really gratifying to sign up players like him on extended contracts. I’d like to thank head of rugby Derek Beaumont for working so hard to secure Josh’s signing.

“It may well be that we allow Josh to move out on loan to another Championship or Championship One club with a view to him getting more first-team experience which will benefit him and our club in the long run.”