KIERON Purtill summed up the mood of everyone connected with Leigh after Featherstone’s second half performance secured the Betfred Championship Shield.

Centurions’ latest makeshift squad, including seven loanees from Wigan, St Helens and Castleford, performed superbly to only trail 8-6 at the break.

But with ex Leigh favourite Martyn Ridyard enjoying greater prominence in the second half, Rovers started to dominate.

John Duffy’s side, giving first appearances to three players, touched down six times, including doubles for Shaun Robinson and Leeds Rhinos’ loanee, Harry Newman.

Centurions finished both halves with only 12 men due to sin binnings for Kevin Larroyer and Janie Acton. But their absences didn’t contribute to a score line that certainly flattered the home team.

“There is certain sense of relief it is all over,” admitted head coach Purtill “The season has been very tough at times.

“But to get 17 players out was a win itself, “ added Purtill who feared the worst in midweek, cancelling a training session with just eight available players.

“I am so proud of everyone’s efforts especially the new lads who came in. I thought they were fantastic.

“We had nothing to lose. We just said ‘let’s go out and give everything we have got.’

“So, it’s a big thank you to all parent clubs who allowed them to join us. The lads were all fantastic even though we only had two sessions together.

“The club has now got to get itself back on track both on and off the field. Hopefully we will come back bigger and stronger.”

For the record Leigh handed debuts to Jacques O'Neill (Castleford), Ben Kilner (Wigan), Liam Byrne (Wigan), Kevin Brown (St Helens), Sam Grant (Wigan) James Barran (Wigan) and Chris Follin (St Helens).

Despite the unfamiliarity, Leigh struck first as Matty Dawson-Jones slid in to touch down Drew Hutchison’s grubber kick after only four minutes. Jack Owens goaled and the visitors led 6-0.

Roared on by 500 Leythers, Centurions were giving a great account of themselves after the recent disappointments against Batley and Dewsbury.

However, hit by penalties and basic errors, they were forced back by Rovers. Keal Carlile notched an equalising converted try after 15 minutes before Ian Hardman kicked a penalty to give Fev a lead they weren’t to lose.

Playing down the slope after half time Rovers-to use coach John Duffy’s words-were a “different animal.”

Tyler Dupree and Newman touched down in quick succession-both efforts goaled by Hardman- as Fev took control.

Duffy’s men were to score four more tries, including Robinson’s brace while Owens partially atoned for some costly handling errors with Leigh’s only other try.

“Kieron had it tough,” agreed sporting Duffy. “I thought all the players he brought in did a great job. That shows what a good coach he is.”

Match stats:


Hardman; Whylie, Taulapapa, Newman, Robinson: Ridyard, Wildie; Cooper, Maskill, Brooks, Farrell, Hardcastle, Lockwood; substitutes: Carlile, Dupree, Mustapha, Barraclough.

Tries: Carlile (15), Dupree (45), Newman (50, 72), Farrell (57), Robinson (60, 67)

Goals: Hardman 7/8


Owens: Brown, Dawson-Jones, Grant, Ricky Bailey; Barran, Hutchison; Acton, O’Neill, Blagborough, Larroyer, Gregson, Byrne.

Substitutes: Kilner, Johnson, Follin, Cox.

Tries: Dawson-Jones (4), Owens (54)

Goals: Owens 1/2

Referee: John McMullen

Half-time: 8-6

Attendance: 2,123