Leigh 46 Barrow 30

IAIN Thornley scored a hat-trick and Adam Swift marked his debut with a double but Leigh’s latest Betfred Championship win was far from plain sailing.

Despite victory to keep his team in the top five, head coach John Duffy was less than pleased.

And he’ll be looking for a big improvement when Leigh travel to Hull KR on Thursday for a fifth round Coral Challenge Cup tie against their Super League hosts.

“We stepped it up when we needed to but that’s not good enough,” said Duffy.

“Barrow deserve all the credit. They came and had a right dig at us. Their middles were superb and a lot more aggressive than ours.

“Attitude, mentality and that’s it. That’s all we spoke about all week.

“But I’ve never seen us cut up like that down the middle all season. It’s not how we do things and it’s not good enough. But we got the result.”

A game of 13 tries and 76 points also brought other high numbers including 27 penalties from Super League referee Ben Thaler and three yellow cards.

Barrow were the worst penalty offenders conceding 16 but Leigh saw Joe Cator and Stefan Marsh sent for 10 minutes cooling off in the second half.

Fortunately for the home side, they busted the game open in the opening period, scoring four tries and conceding only one in reply.

With half back Danny Richardson on duty with St Helens against Catalans Dragons in Perpignan, Leigh obtained the services of winger Swift.

And the 26-year-old, who enjoyed a brief loan spell at Sheffield Eagles last season, stepped up to the mark with two second half tries in 17 minutes.

But it was full-back Gregg McNally who began the scoring spree, touching down after four minutes to bring up his 100th try in Leigh colours.

Sam Brooks added a second after 24 minutes with Jamie Dallimore kicking a penalty in between to open Barrow’s points account.

The Raiders lost Jarrad Stack to the sin bin for interference and down to 12 they conceded two fine tries from Thornley sparked by McNally and Swift respectively.

Leading 22-2, the game seemed over as a contest. But not a bit of it.

Dan Toal scored a converted try just before the break and Theerapol Ritson added another immediately after the re-start.

So, when Cator and Marsh were yellow carded for a late tackle and holding down, Leigh’s 11-men were protecting only a 22-14 lead.

Swift and Stack traded tries despite Centurions’ numerical disadvantage but when restored to their full complement touchdowns from Woods – his first in Leigh colours – Swift and Thornley made the game safe.

Barrow weren’t finished, however, and produced a late flurry to add deserved respectability to the score line with tries from Deon Cross’s interception and Glenn Riley.

Match stats:

Leigh: McNally; Pownall, Swift, I Thornley, Marsh; Ridyard, Woods; Douglas, Higham, Brooks, T Adamson, Gregson, L Adamson. Substitutes: Hood, Cator, Spencer, A Thornley.

Tries: McNally (4), Brooks (24), I Thornley (32, 36, 73), Swift (52, 69), Woods (62).

Goals: Ridyard 7/ 8.

Barrow: Ritson; Cross, Stack, Spedding, Loxam; Dallimore, Johnston; Johnson, Puara Jr, Susino, Crellin, Minoga, Charnock; substitute: Mossop, Riley, Walker, Toal.

Tries: D Toal (38), Ritson (41), Stack (58), Cross (78), Riley (80).

Goals: Dallimore 3/ 4, Charnock 2/ 2.

Referee: Ben Thaler

Half-time: 22-8

Attendance: 3,036