MICKY Higham didn’t finish on the winning side for his final competitive game but received plaudits from fans, players and respective coaches at the end of a full blooded ‘friendly,’ writes Trevor Baxter.

The veteran hooker was treated to a guard of honour prior to kick-off and was subject of a presentation in the visitors’ dressing room after the final hooter.

In between, Wigan scored four tries to Centurions’ three to finally take bragging rights in the annual hit out for the Arthur Thomas Memorial Trophy after four successive defeats.

But Leigh boss Neil Jukes was pleased by his unfamiliar looking team’s efforts on a freezing and rain soaked afternoon.

“I said to Micky, for once, just go out and enjoy it,” confirmed Jukes fielding a squad including 18 new players. “There was no pressure.

“I am just disappointed he didn’t get over for a try at the end because he was always going to try for one.

“There are a lot of good players about but not every good player is a good person. But Micky is a good person, a good family man and a good friend as well.”

On Leigh’s display Jukes added:” I said to the players I was really pleased and can go home happy.

“The result is a big thing because it is Leigh and Wigan. But the important thing is getting the process right for game one against Toronto.

“We dominated field position early on and for big periods we went toe-to-toe and got over the top of them.

“Probably the only difference was the kicking game of George Williams. That’s what you get with an international in there.”

Paterika Vaivai crashed over to put Leigh into a sixth minute lead with Ben Reynolds converting.

Both teams suffered early injury concerns notably a ground shuddering hit by Jamie Acton on Tony Clubb.

Hard man Acton, playing his first game since July 1, 2017 due to suspension, left the field with blood streaming from a cut above his eye. Clubb was more concussed and didn’t feature again.

Wigan also lost winger Joe Burgess for the rest of the match with a hip injury.

However, the Super League outfit hit back with Williams, later to finish with a broken nose, sending in Sam Tomkins for a 14th minute try.

Tomkins missed the conversion but was on target after another Williams assist sent-in centre Oliver Gildart to make it 6-10.

Centurions fought back with centre Peter Mata’utia also touching down on debut four minutes from half-time. Reynolds failed with the goal attempt and it was 10-all at the break.

Ex-South Sydney youngster Greg Hamlin restored Wigan’s lead with a converted try as he followed up Tomkins’ kick after 54 minutes.

Back came Leigh with ex-Widnes man Jack Owens squeezing in at the corner after good handling in treacherous conditions.

Reynolds missed his chance to level matters once more and Wigan made the game safe in the last minute through a Jake Shorrocks try.

On Higham, Wane said: “He has always been a competitor and I appreciate what he has done for Wigan and rugby league. He is a fantastic player and a fantastic bloke.”

Leigh: Hall; Dawson, Crooks, Mata’utia, Bergal; Reynolds, Hutchison; Vaivai, Higham, Acton, Larroyer, Hansen, Thompson. Subs: Mortimer, Lovett, Richards, Cunningham, Hood, Owens, Gregson, Blagborough, Patrick, Dezaria.

Tries: Vaivai (6), Mata’utia (36), Owens (58) Goals: Reynolds 1/3.

Wigan: S Tomkins; Davies, Sarginson, Gildart, Burgess; Williams, Powell; Clubb, Leuluai, Flower, J Tomkins, Farrell, Sutton. Subs: Escare, Field, Hamlin, Isa, Marshall, Mullen, Navarrete, Nuuausala, Shorrocks, Tautai, Wells.

Tries: Tomkins (14), Gildart (31), Hamlin (54), Shorrocks (79) Goals: Tomkins 2/3; Escare 1/1.

Referee Robert Hicks (Oldham).

Attendance: 4509