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Centurions put on late show for 17th victory
Leigh Centurions 30 Dewsbury Rams 22
LEIGH claimed their 17th Kingstone Press Championship victory by virtue of a late, late show that brought two tries for Johnny Pownall.
Playing in his eighth game of the season, Pownall leapt to claim Ryan Brierley’s crossfield kick and then supported Gregg McNally on the back of a scrum move for his second to confirm victory.
It all came in a helter skelter last 10 minutes that saw the visitors dramatically draw level having trailed by 12 points and Centurions reduced to 12 men following the sinbinning of Liam Kay for deliberately pushing Karl Pryce to the floor.
Leigh knew they faced a battle early on when Rams' Jobe Murphy was held up over the line. It was a bright opening for the visitors who forced Martyn Ridyard to kick long at the end of Centurions' first few sets.
Despite a less than fluent start, Leigh maintained their composure and Ridyard struck, cleverly reversing a kick for Brierley to finish.
Ridyard booted Centurions to a 6-0 advantage but Dewsbury came into the contest with a well claimed try from Shane Grady.
The former Widnes man responded quickest to a loose pass by Tom Spencer and roared to the line from 40 metres for one time Leigh player Tom Hemingway to kick the first of three goals.
The hosts went back in front after 22 minutes when Liam Kay grounded his first try following another pin-point kick from Ridyard.
An excellent defensive read by Austin Buchanan then held the Leigh winger at bay with support forcing him in touch and the Rams visibly grew from that point.
With the likes of Tommy Gallagher, Ryan Hepworth and Ewan Dowes all making their presence felt it was left to Thackeray to make the telling play.
As the half ticked down, he went right with a magnificent pass seeing Scott Hale with a clear run to the line.
Leigh too had their heroes, Bob Beswick frustrated Makali Aizue with his tackling, Sam Barlow gave a simply brilliant first 30 minutes in which the returning forward was almost unplayable against the Dewsbury pack and Tommy Goulden was back at his best in both defence and attack.
Level at 10-10, Leigh fired into the second half and crossed after a minute when Andy Thornley gave Kay good early ball and he outstripped the defence to race round to the posts and add his second.
Both sides went close only to be denied by a combination of good tackling or the bounce of the ball.
Karl Pryce fashioned an opportunity after 65 minutes but lost the ball and a freeplay almost brought Rams a try only for Tommy Goulden to appear from nowhere and punch the ball out of play with Hemingway breathing down his neck.
Within a couple of minutes, Leigh had moved down the ground and Goulden worked a switch play with Sean Penkywicz to stretch out for try number nine of the season.
Ridyard tagged on his third goal andCenturions looked set to complete victory.
Quick tries from Dale Morton and Shane Grady levelled matters at 22-22 before Pownall's late show put the game back in Leigh's favour.
Leigh: McNally; Pownall, Hankinson, Thornley, Kay; Ridyard, Brierley; Spencer, Beswick, Hopkins, Sarsfield, Goulden, Barlow. Subs: Wilkes, Penkywicz, Bate, Emmitt.