EMOTIONAL Micky Higham finished his farewell match in tears as Leigh suffered play-off heartbreak, losing 34-18 at home to Featherstone.

With a trip to York City Knights awaiting the winners, Centurions rarely threatened to gain a season prolonging extension.

Rovers led 14-0 and 20-10 before final quarter tries by Josh Walters and Dane Chisholm finally put the semi-finals out of reach.

Chisholm finished with 14 points as Rovers stayed on course for the unlikeliest of Championship Grand Final appearances.

Head coach John Duffy was as equally emotional as his captain who led out his home town club and then walked through an end of match guard of honour.

“We were beaten by the better team,” said Duffy. “We had a few brain explosions early on coming out of the line and probably lacked a clinical end to our sets.

“But overall the season has been fantastic. It has been an honour to coach this group of players and this club.

“I have really enjoyed it. It’s been a roller coaster but one I will never forget.

“We have players in the dressing room who are devastated. But they have got to hold their heads high after what they have achieved after staring pre-season with nine players.”

Leigh made the worst possible start conceding three tries in the opening 25 minutes.

That deficit could have been even worse but for Chisholm missing two of his three conversion attempts.

Alex Sutcliffe touched down after seven and 25 minutes while substitute James Harrison found a huge hole in the home defensive line to score with his first touch after 20 minutes.

Junior Sau’s impressive powerful ball carrying was rewarded with a second try of the season 12 minutes from half-time. Ryan Brierley missed the conversion.

Leigh made a turbo charged start to the second period with prop Luke Douglas-another playing his final game for the club-bulldozing over for Brierley to improve.

Suddenly, it was game on with the North Stand roaring its approval.

Instead, Callum McLelland scored a memorable solo try to leave Leigh with another mountain to climb.

Stefan Marsh squeezed in at the left corner approaching the hour mark to suggest the result wasn’t a foregone conclusion.

But Walters powered past Brierley for a crucial try after 62 minutes and Chisholm added a sixth visitors’ try following a Marsh knock on.

Chisholm improved both and kicked a penalty to ensure Toby Adamson’s late try for the home side was nothing more than giving the score line an improving look.

Leigh: Brierley; Higson, I Thornley, Sa’u, Marsh; Brown, Woods; Douglas, Higham, Brooks, T Adamson, Thompson, L Adamson; substitutes: Hood, Cator, Clark, Spencer.

Tries: Sa’u (27), Douglas (42), Marsh (57), T. Adamson (73)

Goals: Brierley (1)

Rovers: Golding; Johnson, Hardcastle, Sutcliffe, Carey; McLelland, Chisholm; Davies, Jones, Makatoa, Day, Walters, Lockwood; substitutes: Cooper, Harrison, Render, Albert.

Tries: Sutcliffe (7 and 25), Harrison (20), McLelland (50), Walters (62), Chisholm (66)

Goals: Chisholm (5)

Referee: Gareth Hewer(Whitehaven)

Half-time: 4-14

Attendance: 2,600 (estimated)