Workington Town 16 Leigh Centurions 28
LEIGH Centurions got the result, if not the performance they were looking for, and remain seven points clear at the top of the Kingstone Press Championship.
It is perhaps a mark of how far Centurions have come in 12 months that they were unhappy with how they played. After all, at the same venue Workington won 26-22 last season.
It was a proverbial game of two halves with Leigh taking the first 22-4 before losing the second 12-6 and provided frustrating viewing for the large contingent of travelling fans.
Workington were first on the scoreboard but only after Leigh had put down their first opportunity, the otherwise impressive Matt Sarsfield losing the ball when trying to find support after a break.
The hosts drove to the Leigh line and with Graeme Mattinson at his scheming best, former Centurion Carl Forber dummied his way through in the left corner.
Responding, Leigh found shape and urgency with Gregg McNally arcing across the field for Liam Kay to ground his 16th try of the year. Martyn Ridyard converted brilliantly from the touchline and the visitors took the game to Workington.
Kay was tackled close to the line after 15 minutes and Workington thought they had covered the danger only for Sean Penkywicz to dart over from dummy half.
A third Leigh try then followed in the 20th minute thanks to a clever switch in play from Ridyard and a virtually unstoppable run from Matt Sarsfield. Ridyard nudged over his second goal and Leigh were 12 points clear.
Things got better for the visitors when a set move between Bob Beswick and Ridyard found McNally in a huge gap and the full back cleverly drew his opposite number for Ryan Brierley to claim his customary try.
There was an air of expectancy about the second half yet it was Workington with the urgency.
They opened the score after three minutes through long striding Brett Phillips and had much of the third quarter with Leigh restricted to isolated attacks and two disallowed tries from Johnny Pownall.
Leigh did claim a fifth try, 18 minutes from the end after Liam Kay contested a Ridyard kick with Brett Carter and in the ensuing scramble Sarsfield won the race.
This gave Ridyard his fourth goal and came after two separate incidents, one involving Jamie Acton went on report following a late tackle on Penkywicz which also brought crossed arms in the first half.
Workington felt they could claim something from the game and launched an all out offensive in the last ten minutes which resulted in Jarrad Stack crossing wide out for Forber to goal.
The impressive Sam Barlow was held up at the other end before in the last minute Penkywicz booted a 40-20.
In one final play, the Centurions went for a try which would have denied their hosts but Workington held their nerve to claim a bonus point while Leigh were left contemplating a second half that they know they can, and will improve on.
Team: McNally, Pownall, Pitman, Armstrong, Kay; Ridyard, Brierley; Bate, Penkywicz, Spencer, Sarsfield, Goulden, Barlow. Subs: Beswick, Acton, Emmitt, Wilkes.
Referee: Mr G Hewer