GREG Richards has escaped his customary end of season forfeit by scoring his first Leigh try, and only the second of his career, in Centurions’ 38-0 Betfred Championship Shield win over Barrow Raiders.

Team mates at Leigh and previously at St Helens have been used to the Cumbrian prop shedding his kit as ‘punishment’ for failing to touch down during the campaign.

But that embarrassment has been avoided thanks to a 22nd minute effort against his home town club-his first since touching down for Saints against Wakefield in July 2016 and only his second in 111 senior matches.

Richards was mobbed as he crashed over the line from Micky Higham’s set-up.

“There has been a running joke among the lads because I am not known for scoring tries,” he grinned.

“I am just glad I am off the nudie run. I have already done about four in my time so I am sure the boys won’t be disappointed to see me naked again come October.

“Thankfully, I just fell over the line because Micky did most of the work.”

Leigh return to action at Featherstone on Sunday, September 2 in a game that should decide who has home advantage for the Shield final.

And Richards says its credit to the players soldiering on through the club’s current financial difficulties.

“We have been performing well despite everything that’s been going on,” he said. “It’s great the boys have stuck together and everyone has the same idea.

“Everyone wants to play well for the fans and to see the season how playing well.”

Richards initially moved to Leigh until the end of November 2018 with the club having a further one-year option.

That contract was ripped up after relegation from Super League via last season’s Million Pounds Game. So, he’s on the market now looking for a new deal for 2019.

“I am keeping options close to my chest,” he said. “ There has been bits if interest. But there are a lot of lads looking to sort things out for next year with new contracts so it is very competitive.”

Head coach Kieron Purtill is determined-despite the upheaval-his squad maintains high standards which is why winger Ilias Bergal was dropped for the Barrow game for late arrival at training.

“No matter what is happening around us or in front of us we have to maintain our standards we have had for a long time,” he said.

“That wasn’t standard for the group and I explained to the group and they were all behind it.

“Ilias understands what he did and he needs to learn from it because it cost him his place in the team.”