Batley Bulldogs 6 Leigh Centurions 36

LEIGH Centurions won their 21st league game of the season with a comfortable display at Batley Bulldogs.

Faced with the infamous slope, Leigh played uphill in the first half and dominated, opening a 16-0 advantage at half time.

Martyn Ridyard was a central figure all afternoon for the Centurions, landing six goals from eight attempts, kicking two 40-20s and also having a hand in three of the Centurions six tries.

The Centurions started brilliantly and within a minute had forged their way through.

Ridyard moved the ball left in the first set of six and Tom Armstrong beat three men before finding a flying Ryan Brierley in support. The jet-heeled Brierley ran away from the chasers to claim his 35th try of the season and Ridyard hit the first of his goal tally to open a 6-0 lead.

Batley responded with a variety of close range kicks but despite winning two drop outs, it was the Leigh defence that made the biggest impression, holding John Kear's side at bay.

At the other end Ridyard broke clear but lost the ball in contact with former Leigh full back Miles Greenwood, while Armstrong was also hauled back on a curious obstruction call.

On loan Ben Heaton broke the Leigh line on the Batley left, only for Sam Hopkins to chase him down. It was one of few line breaks conceded by the visitors who responded clinically.

Ridyard and Gregg McNally created the space and Matt Sarsfield sprinted clear for Ridyard to goal and make it 12-0.

Sarsfield was also starting to enjoy himself on the Leigh left and when he provided a quick play-the-ball for Sean Penkywicz, the hooker won a penalty which was nudged between the posts by Ridyard.

As the half ticked down there was controversy as the ball came loose from Jamie Acton following a 40-20 from Brierley. As Batley moved the pass to their left, Scott Leatherbarrow was hit high by Adam Higson.

A flashpoint ensued and the resulting penalty went the way of Leigh with Acton adjudged to have been shoulder charged.

The cool-headed Ridyard slotted home the penalty after the siren and the Centurions headed in with a 16-0 lead intact.

Early in the second half, Batley built pressure and were rewarded when the combination of former Leigh players Anthony Nicholson and Greenwood saw the full back ground the grubber kick to claim his 20th try of the year. Leatherbarrow goaled and all of a sudden, Batley were well in the game, trailing by 6-16.

This bouyed the hosts and when the ball came away from a tackle strangely, Greenwood scooped up and raced 30 metres only to see the possession slip away.

At the other end Hopkins lost possession in the act of scoring but Leigh had served notice and struck with ruthless efficiency during a five minute spell.

It began after 54 minutes when Adam Higson raced around Leatherbarrow for a fine solo score and the Centurions were soon at it again following Ridyard's first 40-20.

The stand off looped a ball left and Liam Kay grounded at the corner for his 25th try of the year.

Next came a real classy Leigh score on the hour. Ridyard initiated, Sarsfield broke the line, Beswick supported him and Armstrong looped round to collect the pass and finish a superb team try between the posts.

The 30-6 scoreline was comfortable for Leigh and despite a couple of disallowed tries from Greenwood and Scott, the Centurions remained in complete control.

An action packed last 10 minutes saw Lee Paterson sent off for the hosts after a verbal slanging match with Acton before the prop followed him with a sinbinning following over enthusiastic tackling a minute later.

With both teams down to 12 men, there was more space and Leigh landed their sixth try when Ridyard and Brierley linked superbly and a lovely pass from Kurt Haggerty found McNally for his 17th try of the year. Ridyard converted from an acute angle to complete his tally and bring up the final score of 36-6.

Leigh: McNally; Higson, Pitman, Armstrong, Kay; Ridyard, Brierley; Emmitt, Penkywicz, Hopkins, Sarsfield, Haggerty, Barlow. Subs: Beswick, Goulden, Aspinwall, Acton.

Referee: Chris Kendall

Attendance: 976.