Leigh 8 Widnes 24.

Super League survival has suddenly become a lot tougher for Leigh after losing their second out of four Qualifying fixtures.

Centurions never recovered from a disastrous start that brought a game ending injury for Daniel Mortimer, the Vikings’ first try from Lloyd White and a plethora of penalties.

Hooker Mortimer’s bicep problem meant extra game time for Micky Higham.

Even when Widnes lost full-back Rhys Hanbury and Danny Craven to groin and knee issues respectively, Centurions couldn’t capitalise.

It all added upto a frustrating afternoon for head coach Neil Jukes whose side occupy fourth spot, ahead of Catalans Dragons due to a superior points difference.

“It couldn’t get any worse, could it? said Jukes of Leigh’s dreadful opening to the contest.

“Apart from the injury it was all our own doing. I was nervous going into the game because our preparation was so immaculate.

“I couldn’t have asked for anymore. At times we had to hold them back.

“But our effort and our intent in what we did defensively at the start of the game gave us too much to do.

“We still had enough opportunities but our pass selection wasn’t right. If we make the right choice, we could have scored enough points to get over the top of them.

“But we couldn’t get close enough to add that pressure. We didn’t hit the targets in enough facets of our game.

“Even when we got within of clawing it back (with James Clare’s try) on the next set we spill the ball and they score on the back of it.”

Leigh have now lost both home qualifying games and will be without Mortimer for Saturday’s trip to unbeaten Warrington.

With other games to come against Halifax and London Broncos, it’s definitely not all doom and gloom.

But Leigh can’t afford anymore performances like this one with Widnes good value for their third derby win of the campaign.

White and Alex Gerrard touched down in the first half when Hanbury kicked a conversion and two penalties to make it 14-0 at the break.

Even when Craven departed just after half-time and winger Corey Thompson became third choice full-back, Leigh still couldn’t shake off their malaise.

Clare, handed a debut nine months after his arrival from Bradford, justified his selection of Adam Higson with a slick finish after 56 minutes.

Almost immediately though Widnes responded through Thompson’s try leaving Chris Bridge to being the Vikings sailing home with a conversion and two penalties.

Matty Dawson did grab a second try for Centurions but it was hardly a consolation for all concerned with the home team.

Match stats


McNally; Clare, Brown, Langi, Dawson; Drinkwater, Reynolds; Tickle, Mortimer, Hansen, Paterson, Vea, Burr; substitutes: Higham, Hopkins, Stewart, Richards.

Tries: Clare (55), Dawson (66)

Goals: Reynolds 0/2


Hanbury; Marsh, Bridge, Runciman, Thompson; Mellor, Craven; Buchanan, White, Dudson, Whitley, Houston, Cahill; substitutes: Gerrard, Manuokafoa, Olbison, Walker.

Tries: White (4), Gerrard (25), Thompson (58)

Goals: Hanbury ¾, Bridge 3/3

Referee: Ben Thaler

Attendance: 6,209

Half-time: 0-14