Altrincham Kersal RUFC 10 Leigh RUFC 35

LEIGH began 2014 in style with a dominant performance to lift themselves from the foot of the North One West table.

With their injury problems finally improving, Leigh welcomed back influential skipper Iain Wood and gave a debut to colts stand-off Rob Drake from the bench.

The early momentum was quickly with the visitors, who showed good patience and sound ball control to move up the field and gain three penalties all converted by Elliott Ryan.

Leigh introduced Drake for his first taste of senior rugby, and the youngster was quick to adapt, scoring a fine try with the last play of the half.

The conversion by Ryan gave them a 16-point lead at the break.

Ross Shepherd ran strongly to score wide right after good work by the forwards and half-back David Wood.

He repeated this effort when veteran Karl Lawrenson freed Ryan to break clear and provide a well-timed scoring pass.

The bonus-point try came courtesy of big back-row Calvin Crompton, after strong running from both backs and forwards.

Ryan added his second conversion of the half to complete the Leigh scoring.

AK finished the stronger with two well deserved tries, but the day belonged to a rejuvenated Leigh outfit who have a steep mountain to climb if they are to remain at this level of rugby.

Leigh entertain title-chasing Birkenhead Park on Saturday in what promises to be a bruising encounter.