Leigh Centurions 19 Barrow Raiders 18

Martyn Ridyard’ 77th minute drop goal took Leigh to within 80 minutes of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup final.

But Wembley seemed a long way off when brave Barrow battled back from a 10-0 deficit to lead 16-10 and 18-16 with six minutes remaining.

Ridyard then booted a penalty and kicked his single pointer to put Centurions into Thursday night’s semi-final draw.

This fledging competition may have its critics but try telling Leigh fans in the Totally Wicked Stadium it’s unimportant.

“Everyone is in it to win it,” said “exhausted” Duffy after another superb advert for Championship rugby. “It just shows what a good competition it is and we are all trying to go the extra mile.

“We nearly got burned at the end but we showed we are a champion side and managed to get the win.

“I am happy for the boys but we really underperformed. Don’t though take anything away from Barrow. They came here, played tough and nearly turned us over.

Leigh, watched by prodigal son Ryan Brierley, led 10-6 at half-time but were tested in every facet by Paul Crarey’s determined visitors.

Centurions also lost first try scorer Gregg McNally with a groin problem forcing an unwanted re-shuffle.

Joe Cator added to McNally’s 11h minute effort after 24 minutes with Ridyard, now deputising at full-back, kicking one of his two conversions attempts.

But Barrow demonstrated why they’d upset Featherstone 38-16 last Sunday and deservedly hit back through Jordan Walne’s 30th minute try converted by Ryan Johnston.

Cator was held up as he foraged for a second try on the stroke of half-time but Brett Carter’s defended superbly to keep out the former Hull KR man.

Leigh’s lethargy continued at the start of the second half and within 10 minutes found themselves staring at a 16-10 deficit.

Full-back Luke Cresswell charged on to Wartovo Puara’s offload and had the speed to go 40 metres.

Then Johnston followed-up a kick and as Leigh’s defence hesitated, the stand-off pounced on the loose ball. Crucially, the try scorer missed his conversion.

So, when Jordan Thompson took Ridyard’s pass in his stride to touch down after 64 minutes and Ridyard goaled, the teams were level again.

Barrow regained their lead with a 68th minute Johnston penalty only for Ridyard to miss Leigh’s own penalty award from 30 metres two minutes later.

Ridyard didn’t waste the next chance with five minutes remaining after referee Hewer spotted a charge on Douglas in back play.

And with golden point there was unbridled joy as Ridyard slotted Leigh into the hat alongside Widnes, Sunday’s opponents Sheffield and Batley.

Mach stats:

Leigh: McNally; Cox, I Thornley, Sims, Marsh; Ridyard, Woods; Douglas, Eaves, L Adamson, T Adamson, Bachelor, Cator; substitutes: Hood, Emmitt, Thompson, Paterson.

Tries: McNally (11), Cator (24), Thompson (64)

Goals: Ridyard (3)

Drop goal: Ridyard (77)

Barrow: Cresswell; Carter, Amean, Spedding, Cross; Johnston, Puara; Johnson, Smith, Susino, Walne, Paisley, Toal; substitutes: Riley, Walker, Loxam, Ritson.

Tries: Walne (30), Cresswell (47) Johnston (50)

Goals: Johnston (3)

Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven)

Half-time: 10-6

Attendance: 1,012