Featherstone Rovers 10 Leigh Centurions 29
MORE often than not trips to Featherstone have resulted in heartache for Leigh fans but the 2014 Centurions are focused, committed and skilful.
They stretched their unbeaten start to the season to 12 games with a five try success that keeps them some distance clear at the summit of the Kingstone Press Championship.
There was little between the teams in the opening half despite Rovers enjoying far more possession at the Leigh end of the field. Despite a lack of completions, the Centurions defence was all consuming, only giving way once.
That came after 10 minutes when the otherwise impressive Cameron Pitman had been dragged infield along with Adam Higson. Jamie Cording somehow slipped the ball out and Greg Worthington sent Ben Hellewell running in at the corner from 40 metres.
Leigh pressed at the other end of the ground but Hellewell intercepted to relieve pressure.
Centurions did get around Rovers' defence a couple of times.
Firstly Martyn Ridyard, Gregg McNally and Tom Armstrong moved quickly down the left for Liam Kay to score the first of his two tries after 19 minutes. Ridyard missed the conversion and after Kyle Briggs spurned a penalty in front of the posts and later kicked out on the full, Leigh stretched the hosts' defence.
Such was the speed of attack, Centurions could have had a second try only to be thwarted by a forward pass to Kay. It was then Higson’s turn to round his opposite number after 28 minutes but the ball went to ground.
Featherstone piled the pressure on the visitors' line but for all their bluster, could not find a way through. With the final play of the first half, Ridyard attempted to break the deadlock with a drop goal attempt that went wide.
Leigh took control of the second half from an early point when Ryan Brierley kicked a 40/20 but it took eight minutes for Centurions to score when Cameron Pitman evaded a high challenge to crash over on the right from close range.
Ridyard converted and was involved in the play with Brierley that saw Kurt Haggerty sail through for McNally to finish well. Once again Ridyard found his range but only with help from the upright.
Centurions were full of confidence and saw a couple of chances go begging before McNally was poleaxed on a kick return by Tim Spears.
The Featherstone captain was put on report and after receiving treatment, the Leigh full back continued. Virtually from the resulting penalty, Haggerty crabbed back across field and offloaded for Kay to cross in the corner.
Ridyard goaled and Leigh kept up their excellent management of the second half when Brierley nudged over a drop goal.
Featherstone then let Bob Beswick through the middle from a play-the-ball and Brierley supported for his 22nd try of the season for Ridyard to add his fourth goal.
The game took an ugly turn with a fight breaking out. Matty Sarsfield was red-carded for Centurions with Will Sharp suffering the same fate for Rovers.
Although the hosts finally got over the line through Andy Kain, goaled by Briggs, it was Leigh that took home the spoils.
Leigh: McNally; Higson, Pitman, Armstrong, Kay; Ridyard, Brierley; Spencer, Beswick, Hopkins, Sarsfield, Haggerty, Emmitt. Subs: Penkywicz, Wilkes, Barlow, Acton.
Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow