Barrow Raiders 8 Leigh Centurions 52
LEIGH Centurions passed their first away test of 2014 with flying colours.
Cumbrian trips have provided mixed results in recent times and in blustery conditions kicking games were tipped to be a lottery, but the Centurions found their groove to score nine tries and continue their impressive high-scoring start to the Kingstone Press Championship.
Scrum-half Ryan Brierley followed his opening day hat-trick with five more as Barrow struggled to cope with his pace.
This wasn’t all about their number seven though; Leigh were determined from the start and their middle forwards of Tom Spencer, Ryan Duffy, Oliver Wilkes, Sam Barlow and debutant Jamie Acton all did well on a testing afternoon, with Jake Emmitt impressing most.
Leigh made a slick start and after Martyn Ridyard’s short kick brought a knock on from Barrow, Brierley was able to carve through from a scrum 30 metres away from the line.
Ridyard kicked the first of eight goals, but Leigh were soon pegged back when Dom Speakman launched a high kick that got over the top of Alex Brown and Scott Turner grounded in the corner.
With the Centurions kicking with the wind in the first half, they pinned Barrow back and when Sam Barlow and Bob Beswick took the ball to the line, it set the position for Brierley to skip away from Liam Harrison for his second.
In the final 10 minutes of the first half, Leigh certainly found their form and ran in three tries.
The first came as Breirley turned creator.
He feigned his way through the defence and fired the ball inside for Beswick to get between two defenders.
A handling error from the Raiders' Jamie Butler paved the way and when Ridyard flicked the ball out, Tommy Goulden touched down.
Just before the break came the Centurions' try of the game, as the ball moved through four pairs of hands before Matty Sarsfield's break, who in turn fed Gregg McNally to the line.
The second half saw Leigh make a blistering start, with Brierley running clear from another scrum for his hat-trick.
His fourth try came after 51 minutes courtesy of a Ridyard inside ball.
Barrow pulled a try back before the hour when a good kick from Speakman was again grounded by Turner, but former Centurions fullback Ian Mort missed the difficult kick.
Leigh were back troubling the scoreboard themselves when Beswick’s inviting ball saw Tom Spencer spin through a Barrow defender on the line for Ridyard to complete his goal haul.
There was still one more try to come as former Leigh dual contract centre Ryan Shaw kicked ahead for Liam Campbell, only for Brierley to pounce and run 65 metres to score at the other end to move the Centurions beyond fifty points for the second successive week.
Leigh: McNally, Higson, Littler, Armstrong, Brown; Ridyard, Brierley, Spencer, Beswick, Duffy, Sarsfield, Goulden, Barlow. Subs: Wilkes, Kay, Acton, Emmitt.
Barrow: Mort, Turner, Shaw, Wiper, Grant; Speakman, Campbell; Burke, Mossop, Dawson, Harrison, Low, Jones. Subs: Marwood, Palmer, Butler, Morrison.
Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow.