Match Reports about Leigh Centurions since 1998

Browse through our pages and read the match reports on Leigh penned by Dave.

Friday, 8 January 2010

1999 Season Reports: June: LEIGH 72 DONCASTER 6

NFP RD 16: Leigh 72 Doncaster 6


Troubled Doncaster rolled into Leigh hoping to put the clubs problems behind them. By full time however, a polished attacking display from the Centurions had yielded 13 tries and a 72-6 defeat for the Dragons, their heaviest defeat at Leigh for almost 25 years.

Despite resistance from Lee Maher, Chris Watson and Tony Miller, the pattern for the afternoon was already etched after a blistering opening quarter saw the home side race into a 20-0 lead.

The Centurions began confidently and went over for the games first try after just three minutes when former Doncaster centre Ken Kerr put Alan Hadcroft over by the corner flag.

Nick Jenkins, making a rare first team start, scored Leigh's second try following a fumbled kick through.

Kerr then turned from try provider to scorer, crossing on his debut from a deft Kennedy pass. By the 17th minute, Leigh were rampant as Safraz Patel supported a Hadcroft burst down the left touchline.

Doncaster posted their only points of the game when Street had a try disallowed and a startling midfield break from stand-off Kieran Allen was supported by winger Craig Moore who touched down under the posts, Maher tagged on the conversion.

Further pressure from Leigh resulted in tries from Patel and James Arkwright, both goaled by Phil Kendrick to give the home side a 32-6 halftime lead.

Leigh started the second period sharply. Substitute Anthony Murray scored the first of his brace, scooting to the line after good build-up by Kendrick with just 6 minutes of the half gone. A 50th minute try from Ingram stretched an over worked defence after Maher was sinbinned for dissent and Leigh took full advantage with further tries from Kendrick (following a five man raid) and Andy Fairclough (from the scrum base).

Doncaster went close following a big kick and chase from a scrum but the Centurion cover defence held firm.

Leigh remained focused and were rewarded in the final ten minutes with a further three converted tries.

Arkwright capped a good display with his second try from a Murray pass on 71 minutes. Substitute Darren Hall (a potent strikeforce in amateur competition with 42 tries last season) started the move that led to Ingram going under the posts for his second while Murray had the final say as Arkwright's midfield break created space before the fullback repaid Murray with a well timed pass. Ingram added his third conversion to close the game and move Leigh back to second spot.
Leigh Centurions 72
Tries: (minutes in brackets)
Hadcroft (3), Jenkins (11), Kerr (14), Patel (17, 26), Arkwright (29, 71), Murray (46, 77), Ingram (50, 75), Kendrick (55), Fairclough (58)

Goals: Kendrick 7 (from 10), Ingram 3 (from 3).


Doncaster Dragons 6
Tries: (minutes in brackets)
Moore (22)

Goals: Maher 1 (from 1).

Half-time: 32-6 to Leigh
Attendance: 1372 @ Hilton Park, Leigh.

Leigh : Street: Despite being substituted on 62 minutes the rampaging runs and canny offloads of Leigh's power prop were too much for Doncaster to contain.

Cruckshank : The second row caused havoc out wide all afternoon.

Doncaster: Allen: The stand-off was the main thorn in Leigh's side, did his best to rally a tired looking team.

Miller: hardworking back row peformance from the Doncaster skipper.

1999 Season Reports: May: HUNSLET HAWKS 35 LEIGH CENTURIONS 12



Hunslet Hawks closed the gap on the top three to just two points with an important victory over Leigh Centurions at the South Leeds Stadium.

In their 10th home League game of the season, the hosts outplayed their visitors with a near perfect pressure performance before an 11 minute purple patch yeilded four killer tries.

The first half was a tense affair with the Hawks settling quickly into the game. Leigh made little impact in the first twenty minutes as Hunslet pinned the Centurions in their own half and twice missed penalties before the introduction of former Hull KR stalwart Mike Fletcher.

Inventive play from scrum-half Latham Tawhai almost led to two tries but last ditch tackling just prevented the Hawks from taking the lead.

Leigh had chances to register their first points when Fairclough made the visitors only line break of the half and full back Butch Fatnowna was penalised for holding the Leigh skipper down. Unfortunately Paul Wingfield sliced his penalty attempt wide.

Hunslet hit back when second row Rob Wilson caused havoc on the left, combining with Rob D'Arcy to send Richard Baker into a yawning gap. James Arkwright was caught in two minds and Baker chipped the Leigh fullback before winning the race to the bouncing ball thus making the conversion easy for Fletcher.

A 36th minute mass brawl saw Keiron Purtill and Tawhai warned of their conduct and from the resulting penalty, Hunslet gave Fletcher opportunity of a field goal to stretch the Hawks lead to 7 points.

Within seven minutes of the restart Hunslet went 13-0 up when D'Arcy's towering midfield bomb was retained and home captain Shaun Irwin put Chris North over for a Fletcher converted score.

Leigh hit back in the 52nd minute when returning substitute Phil Kendrick somehow held a Tim Street pass to waltz over.

Hunslet gained possession from the restart when Fletcher's deep kick took a wicked bounce over winger Mark Burrows head. Last ditch defence again looked to have saved Leigh but 18 consecutive tackles finally saw prop James Walker force his way in from close range for a converted score.

Three minutes later, fellow prop Steve Pryce added to Leigh's woes with a blockbusting 15 metre charge past Jamie Kennedy and Anthony Murray.

By this time the visitors were on the backfoot and Hunslet twice exposed the inexperience of Burrows as D'Arcy and Irwin both crossed for a matchwinning 33-6 lead. Fletcher added another penalty before Leigh gained some consolation when substitute Safraz Patel put Kendrick over for his second try of the game.

Hunslet Hawks - 35
Tries: (mins in brackets)
Baker (30), North (47), Walker (56), Pryce (60), D'Arcy (62), Irwin (67)
Goals: Fletcher 5 (from 7), Walker 0 (from 1), Ross 0 (from 1)
Field Goal: Fletcher 1.


Leigh Centurions - 12
Tries: (mins in brackets)
Kendrick (52, 74)
Goals: Wingfield 1 (from 3), Kendrick 1 (from 1).



By Dave Parkinson

Leigh Centurions joined Dewsbury at the summit of the Premiership after inflicting Hull KR's second consecutive away defeat.

Missing the talents of PNG international Stanley Gene, Rovers paired former Leigh scrum-half Jason Donohue with the highly rated Chris Kitching.

Rovers made a slow start and fell behind in the fourth minute when a quick play-the-ball created space and Tau Liku sent Alan Hadcroft over in the corner. Paul Wingfield converted superbly from the touchline.

With ten minutes gone Leigh forced a scrum on half-way, but a misunderstanding saw former Kiwi international Whetu Taewa swoop on a dropped ball and put impressive full back Richard Smith over for a Kevin Gray converted try.

Taewa was at the heart of another break moments later, sending Jon Wray clear, before a pinpoint cover tackle by Stuart Donlan forced an error by the winger. The signs were ominous for Leigh as Rovers gained momentum. Donohue created Rovers second with a grubber kick and Taewa pounced for a 20th minute try.

Five minutes later, the Centurions were on level terms when livewire hooker Anthony Murray capitalised from a quick play and Ingram stepped two defenders from close range.

Rovers then hit Leigh's hopes with a two-try burst before halftime to open a 20-10 lead over their hosts.

Taewa grabbed his second try from a set scrum move and some great broken field running before a suspect play-the-ball from Donohue saw Paul Fletcher storm over.

A 40-20 kick virtually from the start of the second half from Mike Dixon put Leigh under pressure but the Centurions responded and worked their way back.

Seven minutes later, Leigh scored a fortunate try when Kieron Purtill's kick rebounded off a defender putting the chasers onside. Cruckshank charged through and took the bouncing ball from Taewa's grasp. Wingfield converted and was again on target to put Leigh in front after Fairclough increased his season try tally to 13 from the scrum base.

Hull KR had chances to equalise but Gray saw two penalties sail wide. The visitors were further hampered when influential hooker Dixon was helped from the field with an injury.

The final quarter became a test of nerves with Rovers seemingly unable to change their game pattern despite the promptings of their halfbacks and some forceful running from Ian Hughes and Alex Thompson.

It was Leigh that kept things together with Wingfield a key figure late in the game. The wingman added two further penalties and a field-goal to take the score to 27-20.

In an eventful last few minutes Donohue was sent off for instigating a fight involving the outstanding Tim Street who was duly despatched to the sin-bin for retaliation. This failed to take the gloss from a second half that belonged to Leigh as much as the first had to Rovers.

Leigh Centurions 27
Tries: (Minutes in brackets)
Hadcroft (4), Ingram (25), Cruickshank (47), Fairclough (55)
Goals: Wingfield 5 (from 7)
Field Goal: Wingfield 1.


Hull Kingston Rovers 20
Tries: (Minutes in brackets)
Smith (10), Taewa (20, 36), Fletcher (40)
Goals: Gray 2 (from 6)

Attendance: 2419 (at Hilton Park, Leigh)

Leigh: Street / Purtill - Prop / Scrum-half
Hull KR: Donohue / Taewa - Scrum-half / Centre

1999: Season Reports: May: BATLEY BULLDOGS 25 LEIGH CENTURIONS 16

By Dave Parkinson.

A try 30 seconds from time from outstanding home scrum-half Barnett finally clinched a deserved victory for Batley who had shown more bulldog spirit throughout than their visitors.

Leigh had made an encouraging opening to the game but were outplayed in the key half-back areas by a hungry Batley side fresh from a 17-16 away victory at Widnes.

Playing up the slope in the first half, the Centurions shocked Batley with two tries in the first five minutes.

The first fell to Andy Fairclough, using all his guile and strength to brush past two defenders. The second try was scored in virtually the same spot after Anthony Murray, Scott Hilton and Kieron Purtill had created the opening for Chris Parr to score his first try for the club.

Wingfield missed both conversions plus a penalty sandwiched between some good Batley pressure and Leigh held an 8-0 lead.

Despite bossing the opening quarter, Leigh could not breach the Batley defence again in the first half and this gave the home side encouragement.

Batley had a try disallowed before a scrum on their own 40 metre finally worked in the Bulldog's favour. Price slipped a tackle before sending second row Miers sprinting clear from 50 metres for a touchdown.

Leigh ran into further injury worries after 25 minutes when Stuart Donlan was stretchered off after a tackle on Roger Simpson. Dave Ingram was switched to full-back but could do little as Price ghosted over on 27 minutes and his own conversion gave Batley a slender 10-8 lead.

Barnett and Price had further opportunities to increase the Bulldog lead but a combination of luck and determined defence kept them at bay. Just as Leigh were waiting for halftime, they conceded a penalty and Price converted. Once again the Centurions were caught cold when Gary Barnett split the cover and sent Lee Bargate haring over for a converted try and an 18-8 lead.

Just as they had done in the first half, Leigh started well and were rewarded in the 44th minute when a conspicuous pass from Heath Cruckshank was missed by the officials and Murray sped under the posts for a Wingfield converted try.

Price missed a penalty for the home side before substitute Safraz Patel worked an opening with Hilton only for the loose forward to be hauled down short. Batley were penalised for the tackle and Wingfield closed the Bulldog lead to just two points with the 62nd minute penalty.

Moments later Cruckshank had a touchdown disallowed after the referee consulted the linesman who ruled Purtill's offload to the second row was forward. That was as close as Leigh came to another score in the game. Batley continued to run the clock down and Mark Cass kicked a field-goal before Barnett's last gasp heroics lifted the Bulldogs to 9th in the table.

Batley Bulldogs 25
Tries: (minutes in brackets)
Miers (21), Price (27), Bargate (38), Barnett (79)
Goals: Price 4 (from 7)
Field Goal: Cass 1


Leigh Centurions 16
Tries: (mins in brackets)
Fairclough (2), Parr (4), Murray (44)
Goals: Wingfield 2 (from 5)

Attendance: 1023 (at Mount Pleasant, Batley).

Batley = Gary Barnett / Richard Price - Halfbacks
Leigh = Tim Street / Alan Hadcroft - Prop / Centre

1999 Season Reports: May: Workington Town 42 Leigh Centurions 10

Workington Town 42 Leigh Centurions 10
By Dave Parkinson.

February 26th 1995 is a date many Leigh fans want to forget. Leigh had won a hard fought 34-22 victory at Swinton in the Challenge Cup and arrived at Derwent Park hoping to acquit themselves well against a Workington side in the top division.

Workington had other ideas, scoring 17 tries against a hapless Leigh defence that slumped to a club record 94-4 defeat.

May 9th 1999, finally saw Leigh gain some revenge with a comfortable 42-10 victory, their 10th league success of the season and fifth in succession (ironically including a 34-22 defeat of Swinton).

Workington made their intentions clear early on, putting pressure on the home line. They almost took the lead when former Whitehaven player-coach Colin Armstrong was held up over the line.

Leigh were lethargic in the opening quarter with far too many unforced errors keeping Workington in control.

Surprisingly Leigh were first to trouble the scoreboard with an opportunist try from Dave Ingram. He chipped over the defence and then took an awkward bounce to go over in the corner.

Graeme Close then had a chance to put Town on the board after an indescretion from Tim Street. Unfortunatey Close swung his penalty attempt wide and Leigh regained the initiative quickly.

Street turned from villain to hero in the 21st minute when he carved an opening in the defence before turning on the speed and putting supporting full-back Stuart Donlan over for a converted try.

This move seemed to lift Leigh's confidence and they were over again 8 minutes later when Andy Fairclough sent Cruckshank haring through a gap before the second row provided the pass for Ingram's 12th try of the season.

Paul Wingfield converted and added a 36th minute penalty after Donlan was held down.

Workington seemed content to wind the clock down but Leigh had other ideas and scored the try of the game just before the break. Substitute Paul Norman began the move on his own 40 metre line, offloading to Anthony Murray. He accelerated through a gap before handing on to Alan Hadcroft who evaded two tackles to go under the posts.

Leigh extended their lead to 30-0 six minutes after the restart when Keiron Purtill's grubber kick on the last tackle was pounced on by the impressive Donlan.

Town were reduced to 12 men a moment later when second-row Heaton was sent off for a high tackle on Donlan.

It was Town that responded however with an unconverted score from the hard working Close.

On the hour Leigh extended their lead to 36-4 when a quick tap penalty led to Murray squeezing through a two man tackle, just evading former London centre Cochrane.

Workington fought back gamely and were rewarded when hooker Jenkins fed Riley, who bulldozed over from close range.

Leigh had the final say when alert play on the left wing between Tau Liku, Murray, Hadcroft and James Arkwright exposed the defence and Murray took the scoring pass. Paul Wingfield added his 7th goal from the touchline and Leigh climbed to 2nd spot following Hull KR's shock 43-20 loss to Barrow.

Leigh Centurions : 42
Tries (minutes in brackets)
Ingram (11, 29), Donlan (21, 46), Hadcroft (39), Murray (60, 73)
Goals: Wingfield 7 (from 8 attempts).


Workington Town: 10
Tries (minutes in brackets)
Close (49), Riley (63)
Goals: Close 1 (from 3 attempts).

Attendance: 1484

Game Stars:
Leigh - Stuart Donlan = Full Back.
Workington - Graeme Close = Scrum Half.

1999 Season Reports: April: SWINTON LIONS 22 LEIGH CENTURIONS 34


By Dave Parkinson.
Paul Wingfield's 7 goals from 7 attempts helped Leigh leapfrog Dewsbury into outright second place, a position few would have predicted at the start of the season.

The Centurions ninth league success on the season was built in the forwards with Tim Street, Heath Cruckshank, Paul Norman and Jamie Kennedy having fine games.

Leigh were quickly into the game and shocked their local rivals when from their first possession, Alan Hadcroft forced an error from Lions Welsh-aussie Price-Jones who was forced to leave the field. The visitors then worked the ball wide and former Gold Coast forward Cruckshank charged over for a converted score.

By the 17th minute Swinton had got themselves back into the contest with Gartland kicking 2 penalties. Lions full-back Mark Welsby scored the first try for the home team four minutes later, showing good awareness in support. Scrum-half Gartland again converted, giving the home side a slender four point advantage.

After Murray and Street were held-up over the line, Leigh finally made their pressure count when Scott Hilton's inside ball from a scrum put Radney Bowker over for a 29th minute touchdown. Wingfield's conversion and 2 penalties saw a 16-10 scoreline to the visitors.

Three minutes from the break, Wingfield turned from hero to villain, rooted to the spot as opposing winger Simon Ashcroft rose high to catch the ball and touch down following Gartland's cross-field kick. Gartland's conversion tied the game.

With the final play of the half, Leigh launched an ambitious attack and were rewarded when Bowker's inside ball was hacked on by Paul Norman who won the race for a scoring touch.

Leigh scored again 90 seconds after the restart with a determined drive from Norman. Wingfield's conversion gave Leigh breathing space at 28-16 as Swinton employed a more expansive game.

Lion's half-backs Gartland and Ian Watson tried hard to break the defence but Leigh forced errors on several occasions with Kennedy tracking and hurrying both players across the park.

After 59 minutes, the Centurions stretched their lead when Keiron Purtill was adjudged to have been fouled near the line and Referee Nicholson awarded a penalty try.

This try proved to be the gamebreaker as Leigh closed the game down in the final 20 minutes with no-frills play and solid tackling.

The Lions were rewarded for their efforts in the last minute however, when Gartland slit the defence and put big substitute Steve Taylor over for a converted score to restrict Leigh's winning margin to 12 points.

Attendance: 1300

Swinton Lions 22
(Minutes in Brackets)
Tries: Welsby (21), Ashcroft (37), Taylor (80).
Goals: Gartland 5 (from 5)

Leigh Centurions 34
(Minutes in Brackets)
Tries: Cruckshank (4), Bowker (29), Norman (40, 42), K. Purtill (59)
Goals: Wingfield 7 (from 7)

Man of the Match
Leigh: Tim Street No.8 - The Leigh prop just shaded it over Cruckshank and Kennedy with a non-stop display.

Swinton: Steve Gartland No.7 - Although playing behind a beaten pack the scrum-half was at the hub of the Lions best moves. He also booted 5 goals from 5 attempts.

1999 Season Reports: April: LEIGH CENTURIONS 28 KEIGHLEY COUGARS 16

By Dave Parkinson.

The Centurions continued their recent march to the play-offs with a resounding 6-tries-to-2 mauling of the Cougars in their best display of the season so far.

Led superbly from the front by stand-off Andy Fairclough, Leigh made a lightening start, Heath Cruckshank touching down in the first minute following a Cougar knock-on.

Dave Ingram grabbed a second Centurion try in the twelfth minute before a Cruckshank "big hit" was penalised and Martin Wood added the first of his four goals.

Keighley were back in the game two minutes later when a towering kick from Christian Tyrer fell to former Warrington winger Jason Lee who just evaded a tackle to crash over in the corner.

Ten minutes before half-time Leigh stretched their advantage to 12-6 when Fairclough's defence splitting pass saw Ingram race 40 metres before Anthony Murray's support was rewarded and the hooker sped to the line.

Another Wood penalty closed the gap to four points but Leigh hit back with virtually the last play of the half when Scott Hilton and Stuart Donlan combined to put James Arkwright over in the corner. Wingfield then converted superbly from the touchline for a ten point half-time cushion.

The second half began poorly for the Centurions as Keighley applied pressure and pinned the home side in their own territory. Former Castleford forward Andrew Schick went close before a try saving tackle from Donlan. The Leigh fullback then tested the patience of referee Smith with his delaying tactics and was sinbinned. Wood made it 18-10 with the resultant penalty.

Keighley were unable to take further advantage with the Centurions defensive line holding firm.

As the weather deteriorated, Leigh adjusted their game and Tim Street burrowed his way over for a 22-10 lead after 66 minutes.

The Cougars were not finished and piled forward. Hard working scrum-half Nathan Antonik worked an opening for Dave Larder to grab a try on 72 minutes. Wood closed the lead to just 6 points with the conversion and gave the Hilton Park crowd a worrying last few moments.

They need not have worried as Leigh sealed the game in the final minute when man-of-the-match Fairclough dived over for his 11th of the season, with Wingfield adding only the second goal of a slightly wayward kicking performance.

Leigh Centurions - 28

Tries - (minutes in brackets)
Cruckshank (1), Ingram (12), Murray (30), Arkwright (39), Street (66), Fairclough (79).
Goals - Paul Wingfield 2 (from 7)

Keighley Cougars - 16
Tries - (minutes in brackets)
Lee (20), Larder (72).
Goals - Martin Wood 4 (from 5)

Game Stars -
Leigh - Andy Fairclough No.6
Keighley - David Larder No.11

Attendance - 1856

1999 Season Reports: April: LANCASHIRE LYNX 24 LEIGH CENTURIONS 44

By Dave Parkinson.

Leigh were made to work hard by injury hit Lancashire in an open game that yielded twelve tries before Lynx biggest home crowd of the season.

The large Leigh following expected an easy game and were stunned into silence after three minutes when former Leigh loose forward Sean Geritas showed strength to power his way over for a converted try.

Leigh were soon on level terms as stand-off Radney Bowker showed a superb dummy to PJ Solomon and accelerated inside the stunned centre on the last tackle.

Home winger Campbell briefly regained the lead for Lancashire with a penalty but Leigh hit back in the 17th minute when make-shift centre Heath Cruckshank put Paul Wingfield over in the corner for an unconverted try.

Two minutes later the Cruckshank-Wingfield combination split the Lynx defence open with the latter racing 40 metres for his second try.

Another Leigh try wasn't long in coming.

A four man move was finished by former Widnes hooker Anthony Murray and the Centurions looked set for a massive score.

The visitors hadn't counted on the fighting spirit of the home side, typified by former Wigan back "Doc" Murray who swept in for two tries before half time to cut the Centurions lead to just 22-18.

Andy Fairclough extended Leigh's slender advantage in the 46th minute with his tenth try of the season from dummy half after Murray's fifty metre run was halted by a try saving tackle from Lynx "Gladiators" star Neil Parsley.

Dave Whittle was despatched to the sin bin in the 53rd minute and the Lynx reply was immediate when Simon Smith crashed in for 6 points to again peg the Leigh lead to just 4 points.

Leigh were floundering and Lynx applied pressure to the visitors defence. The game breaking moment came in the 61st minute with Lynx on the attack. Darren Abram put winger Lee Rushton away with a pass, only for the youngster to drop the ball 10 metres from an open line.

Less than 5 minutes later Fairclough called a move at the scrum base and sent scrum half Scott Hilton haring through a gap to finish from forty metres. Wingfield converted and at 34-24 Leigh were back in command.

Jamie Kennedy and Murray added further scores in the final 8 minutes as Lancashire finally ran out of steam.

A spirited performance from an injury ravaged team augers well for the home side, while Leigh are fast becoming a real top 5 threat.

Attendance - 777

Lynx 24

Tries - Lynx (minutes in brackets)
Geritas (3), "Doc" Murray (29, 36), Simon Smith (53).

Goals - Lynx
Campbell (4 from 5)

Leigh 44

Tries - Leigh (minutes in brackets)
Bowker (8), Wingfield (17, 19), Anthony Murray (26, 75) Fairclough (46), Hilton (66), Kennedy (72)

Goals - Leigh
Paul Wingfield (6 from 8)

Lynx No.6 : Doc Murray - Playing in the unusual position of stand-off the Kiwi skipper was a constant threat and his two tries were well deserved.

Leigh No.9 : Anthony Murray - Leigh's own namesake had an excellent game with the ball, constantly driving Lynx back with inventive play from acting halfback.

1999 Season Reports: April: LEIGH 22 WIDNES 23

By Dave Parkinson

They say lightening doesn't strike twice, but the similarities between this League meeting at Hilton Park and the cup game were there for all to see.

A good crowd witnessed a titanic struggle with Widnes edging out the home side 23-22. Jason Critchley (a former Leigh Ranger) was the Viking hero with two tries and provided the final pass that sent fullback Salisbury over the line for the clincher 8 minutes from time.

Leigh started the game brightly, pinning Widnes in their own half in a ferocious opening 10 minutes. The visitors cut loose after quarter of an hour when Phil Cantillon outpaced the cover from the play the ball in a superb 45 metre dash.

Four minutes later Critchley burst through and 8-0 soon became 9-0 when Mark Hewitt landed a drop goal. Leigh hit back from close range when a short pass from Craig Dean put Tim Street over on 27 minutes. A brawl followed and referee Mr Gilmour put the incident on report.

Hewitt nudged another penalty over before a Dean grubber kick was pounced upon by Dave Ingram. Another melee erupted in-goal and Widnes winger Munro was sent off.

Leigh made their numerical advantage count early in the second half when Andy Fairclough scored a try, converted from the touchline by Paul Wingfield.

A short kick-off saw Widnes regain possession and some excellent support play was rewarded when Critchley crashed over for a converted try on 51 minutes.

Andy Fairclough again gave the home side the lead, racing onto a short pass and ploughing through 3 defenders to score beneath the posts.

Wingfield's conversion made it 22-17 but Leigh were never able to fully close the game down.

Another penalty brought the Vikings within 3 points of their hosts but Leigh still felt they could hold onto this lead and looked fairly composed until Stuart Donlan's 40 metre break came to nothing and the young fullback dropped the ball.

From the possession Widnes worked the ball wide and Critchley's basketball pass saw Jim Salisbury cash in.

Game Stars:-
Leigh - Andy Fairclough was again stand out performer with a brace of tries and some determined cover defence.

Widnes - Jason Critchley was a thorn in Leigh's side all afternoon, scoring 2 tries and creating another.


Dewsbury Rams 26 - 18 Centurions

By Dave Parkinson

The inspirational Tim Street revealed both sides of his character in a seesaw tussle at Ram Stadium.

Easily the best forward on the field, the combative Street was sinbinned on 56 minutes, and then dismissed three minutes from the end.

Despite the loss of their club captain, Leigh and the returning Safraz Patel gave Dewsbury a real fright in the second half.

Patel, four games into his comeback following major shoulder surgery, added his usual measure of enthusiasm and produced some nice touches in his first top grade game since a pre-season friendly with Wigan.

Dewsbury made a solid start to the match and registered their first points when impressive Richard Agar followed a Barry Eaton kick that bamboozled Stuart Donlan and Paul Wingfield. Eaton missed the conversion but added a 19th minute penalty.

Defences were fierce with Tau Liku and Street topping the workload for Leigh and Rose and Shayne Williams doing the same for Dewsbury.

The Rams lead stretched to 12-0 after 23 minutes when former York player Damian Ball finished a crisp passing move on the left. When fullback Brendan Williams crossed on 31 minutes, it looked like another 50 point defeat was on the cards. Eaton increased Dewsbury's lead to 20 points with another penalty four minutes from the break.

This seemed to spark Leigh into action as John Gunning and James Arkwright worked a run-around before Arkwright's half break put Anthony Murray in the clear. Rams winger Bailey chased back, hauling Murray down a metre short of the line and forcing him to lose possession.

Leigh were not finished and after a sustained spell of pressure Arkwright and Gunning created the gap for Donlan to dive over by the posts. Paul Wingfield converted and Leigh finished the half 6-20 behind.

Dewsbury took advantage of Leigh's sluggish start to the second half when fullback Williams added his second try after just 4 minutes.

The Rams should have extended their lead two minutes later when Bailey was held up over the line. A concerted spell of pressure resulted in 18 consecutive tackles for the Rams before Andy Fairclough's timely interception.

Street's yellow card came after a high tackle. This seemed to have a positive effect as replacements Nick Jenkins, Patel and Phil Kendrick started to impose themselves on the game.

Patel was instrumental in the next Leigh try as his cut out pass put Kendrick into a yawning hole for the ex Widnes back to speed through from 30 metres for the score.

Leigh were defiant as Dewsbury tried to make the extra man count. Bailey was denied a certain score by a forward pass and Eaton was brought to ground just short.

Tim Street's return again gave Leigh impetus as Andy Fairclough took a quick tap penalty. This saw the centre brush aside two attempted tackles in a fifteen metre charge. The Centurions continued to press but were reduced to 12 men when Street was sent off for dissent after receiving a high looking tackle.

Still the Centurions refused to buckle and they scored a disputed try two minutes from time to Fairclough. This was not quite enough for victory as the Rams clinical first half performance created the backbone to a 26-18 victory.

Although defeated, Leigh fans were optimistic after this battling performance gave further indication that the Centurions had finally started to come to terms with life in Division One.


Rochdale Hornets 28 Centurions 10

By Dave Parkinson

Hornets Yorkshire connection of player-coach Deryck Fox and former Leeds hooker Mick Shaw had too much guile for Leigh at Spotland Stadium. Both played important roles as Rochdale achieved successive victories for the first time in 1998 and left Leigh three points adrift at the foot of the table.

This reversal brought a depressing ninth consecutive defeat for the Centurions, but in the process wiped memories of the 20-64 pummelling by the Hornets just a month earlier.

Despite the final score, there was little to choose between the packs, but Hornets with the likes of Fox, Paul Topping, Shaw and Willie Swann in their line-up had more far more attacking organisation.

Leigh began the match brightly and thought they had scored the first points of the game on five minutes when teenage threequarter, Stuart Dickinson showed strength to brush Jason Green's attempted tackle aside before handing the ball for Anthony Murray to dive over. Centurion celebrations were cut short when referee Ronnie Laughton disallowed the try because of a forward pass.

Rochdale swept upfield with four penalties and Deryck Fox adding the first of six goals in the seventh minute. Shortly after, ex-Leigh captain Topping claimed Hornets first try when a Fox crossfield kick caused panic in the defence and Ken Kerr sent his loose forward in at the corner.

Leigh roared back with Anthony Murray, Tim Street and Tau Liku well to the fore. Hornets defence was heroic as Leigh pounded the line and forced 18 consecutive tackles at one point. The pressure finally told in the 26th minute when Keiron Purtill slid a grubber kick to the in-goal area. On-loan fullback Coult misjudged the ball and James Arkwright took advantage of the situation for an opportunist score.

The scores were level for just five minutes. Leigh attacked when Purtill hoisted a towering crossfield bomb but former Keighley winger Andy Eyres caught on the full before dodging an Andy Fairclough challenge and setting off on a sixty metre run that brought Spotland to life.

The Centurions tried to settle into a defensive pattern but Hornets had gained the initiative. Shaw took full advantage of slack marker play to crash over, amid cries for a double movement.

Stuart Donlan kept Rochdale at bay with two superb try saving tackles in the space of sixty seconds before Centurion discipline lapsed before halftime. Tim Street dumped Topping in a late challenge that saw the Leigh player sinbinned for a fifth time in 1998. Fox missed the goal but made amends with another penalty, the final kick of the half to ensure Hornets an eight point cushion.

Leigh made a customary slow start to the second half as full strength Hornets looked to capitalise on Street's absence. Another darting run by livewire Shaw put Rochdale in a position where Fox created the opening for Martin Bunce to finish from ten metres.

Shaw lost possession over the tryline before Ken Kerr increased Hornets lead with a 54th minute touchdown. Fox converted another penalty on the hour to make it a commanding 28-6 lead.

Leigh then enjoyed their best spell of the match in the final twenty minutes but could only breach Hornets defence once when Donlan sliced through the smallest of gaps and carried two defenders over the line in determined fashion.

Rochdale were made to work much harder for the points than the score suggests but the backline and half-backs did not shine on a dismal July afternoon more reminiscent of October.


Leigh Centurions 28 - 34 Swinton Lions

By Dave Parkinson

Swinton coach Les Holliday was not impressed as his lacklustre Lions scraped a victory in the local derby with struggling Leigh Centurions.

Leigh made an unusually solid start as Andy Pucill, Tim Street and Paul Norman took the game to their opponents. Despite this early pressure Leigh had to wait until the twelth minute for the first points.

Jason Donohue, celebrating his loan extension took advantage of slack marking, skipping past two defenders, before racing through from 30 metres.

Swinton replied when full back Evans joined the line and slipped out of Phil Kendricks's tackle for a converted score. Three minutes later, a clever kick from Ian Watson found Price-Jones unmarked in the corner. When substitute Coley dragged two defenders over the line on 26 minutes, Leigh looked to be heading for another heavy defeat.

Radney Bowker, Leigh's 19 year-old prospect, dragged the Centurions back into contention with a superb try. Supporting a Kendrick break, Bowker took the ball before turning both full back and winger inside-out and sprinting clear from 25 metres.

In the final minutes of the first half, tempers frayed and Ian Blease was penalised for use of a forearm.

Former Leigh player Jimmy Veikoso sparked the game into action on the second play of the new half with a midfield break. Gartland and Watson exchanged passes before Andy Craig cut inside to finish after just ninety seconds.

On 45 minutes, Anthony Murray was impeded when supporting a Kendrick break. Veteran forward Paul Hulme was despatched to the sinbin for a professional foul.

Leigh ignored the kick for goal and decided to push for a try. From the tap, drives from Andy Grundy and John Costello set the position for Tim Street to offload to Andy Pucill. The former Swinton prop stepped out of two tackles before drawing the fullback and putting Murray over for his 11th try of the season.

Donohue was the architect, and scorer of the next Leigh try. The Centurion halfback hoisted a swirling kick that was fumbled by Jimmy Evans. Murray swooped on the ball and three plays later Donohue forced his way over from dummy half. Unfortunately, Wingfield struck the post with his conversion and Leigh held a slender 22-20 lead.

Inspired, the Centurions tried, and won a short kick off. Costello caught the ball on the full and drove to the Lions 20 metre line. A quick play-the-ball should have created the time for Murray to exploit a shocked Swinton defence, but he dropped the ball and the impetus was lost.

Paul Barrow regained the lead for Swinton on 56 minutes after a seven pass movement on the last tackle. Gartland converted and added a penalty five minutes later. It was then the turn of impressive scrum half Ian Watson and he capped a good performance with the next Lions try.

Despite being twelve points in arrears, Leigh refused to give in. This persistence finally paid off when Bowker's brilliant pass put Kendrick over. Wingfield converted superbly from the touchline.

The final ten minutes brought drama to the 1,050 diehards in the crowd. Leigh had a great opportunity on 75 minutes when Kendrick split the defence from halfway only to be hauled back short. Sensing he had support, he tried to lay the ball back, rugby union style but a relieved Jimmy Evans dropped on the ball.

Leigh were awarded a succession of late penalties that kept the pressure on Swinton, but a combination of poor execution and excellent defence kept the Centurions at bay.

As the hooter sounded Leigh were still in posession and slid a dangerous grubber kick into the in-goal area, Stuart Donlan and David Hill made valiant dives but Lions sub Tommy Hodgkinson got there first and forced the ball out of play.

Although Swinton were worthy winners in the end, Leigh contributed fully to a superb advert for Rugby League. Tim Street was again outstanding for Leigh, while Jason Donohue enjoyed his best game since rejoining the club.


Leigh Centurions 16 - 48 Featherstone Rovers

By Dave Parkinson
Leighs confidence draining run continued as Featherstone became the latest team to benefit from a generous defence. Rovers scored 8 tries in all, but with more clinical finishing could have had several more. All too often the Centurions sat back instead of incorporating the Australian "in your face" style of defending.

Rovers capitalised on a customery slow start from the Centurions with an early penalty before Richard Chapman punished poor defence to crash over from close range. Ty Fallins converted and supported an Irwin break to cross under the posts on 18 minutes.

Tim Street, so often a source of inspiration, dragged the Centurions back into the game with a barnstorming drive that led to Andy Pucill being held over the line. From the possession Leigh worked the ball wide for ShaunGeritas to then send Street over on 22 minutes.

The Centurions self belief temporarily returned with that move and they continued to press for further points as Geritas was held over the line. Rovers rearguard held firm in the face of some excellent pressure.

Paul Wingfield added a penalty two minutes before halftime, but this was all Leigh had to show for a good second quarter.

Rovers came out for the second half, a motivated unit and blasted Leigh with a three try burst. Prop Stuart Dickens (2) and young winger Karl Pratt capitalised on sloppy defence in the first ten minutes of the period, stretching a 14-6 interval lead to an unasailable 32-6.

Leigh hit back as Street marauded upfield with a 40 metre bust. Quick play saw Leigh work the overlap but Dave Ingram was forced into touch just short of the line.

On the hour Rovers hooker Chapman dummied and broke from acting halfback before handing on to centre Kimmell to score a converted try.
The Centurions rallied and Wingfield got his reward. He took the ball 15 metres out and the winger shrugged off three attempted tackles to cross beneath the posts.

On 73 minutes, Rovers made it 42-12 when the ball was again pushed wide and David Ingram was left stranded as Kimmell scooted over. With the game gone, Leigh pushed hard for a score. John Gunning added the consolation with an arcing 15metre surge that caught Featherstone unaware.

It was perhaps fitting that the outstanding Chapman had the final word, supporting a fine break from Slater. Fallins added his eighth goal to ensure a convincing 48-16 victory in front of 935 spectators.


Leigh Centurions 22 - 14 Hull KR

By Dave Parkinson.

Against all the odds bottom of the table Leigh turned the form book on it's head and showed more spirit than their Humberside bogey team in every aspect of play.

Signs were ominous as Hull KR outmuscled the Leigh pack in the first 15 minutes with little hooker Mike Dixon at the hub of everything. Despite this early pressure, all Rovers had to show for their efforts was a try to the prolific Gary Atkins converted by Mike Fletcher.

As the game entered its second quarter, Leigh grew in confidence with debut halfback James Arkwright keeping a tight watch over PNG superstar Stanley Gene.

Anthony Murray brought the crowd to life, taking the ball from dummy half and accelerating through a hole on the blindside before finding Hadcroft in support. In a 30 metre move Alan Hadcroft drew the defence before sending Jason O'Loughlin galloping over for six points.

Paul Wingfield briefly put Leigh in front with a well struck penalty before another try from Atkins gave Rovers a narrow 10-8 advantage at the break.

Leigh made a good start to the second half, and scoring two tries in the first 8 minutes. It was a direct punishment for Wayne Jackson's lapse of discipline late in the first half that earned the Rovers player a spell in the sinbin. Those tries also established a matchwinning lead.

The Centurions attacked Rovers and on the last tackle, Murray found Phil Kendrick and the big centre was able to offload for Arkwright to skip through a static line for a clinical score. Wingfield added the extras and converted the best try of the game on 48 minutes.

On-form Alan Hadcroft carved his way down the wing in a 40 metre break and sent Kendrick clear with a well judged pass.

Nine minutes later, Leigh almost scored again when a thunderous run from Tau Liku was supported by Keiron Purtill. The referee spotted a marginal forward pass however and disallowed the try.

Mike Bibby then went over for Rovers.
Leigh tried to close the game down, twice missing that all important field-goal.

Hull KR continued to threaten but Leigh's defence held firm for the last few minutes with David Whittle and Tim Street outstanding. They were closely followed by consistent captain John Costello and the irrepressible Murray, who caused problems for Rovers all afternoon.

1998 Season Reports: SWINTON 32 LEIGH 22

Swinton Lions 32 - 22 Leigh Centurions

A superb second half fightback failed to stop Leigh sliding to defeat in the good Friday derby at Gigg Lane.

Keith Latham made several bold changes to his line up, selecting Donohue at scrum half and handing a debuts to new signing Keiron Purtill and loan pair Dave Whittle and Andy Grundy.

As the Centurions were introducing the newcomers, Swinton opened at breakneck pace. Hooker Cannon punished slack marker play to crash in after just 180 seconds. By the 14th minute a brace of tries from Paul Barrow saw Leigh trail 0-14.

Twenty minutes had elapsed before Leigh settled into a pattern. John Costello and Stuart Donlan created an opening before Alan Hadcroft showed power on the flank to cross after 22 minutes. Steve Garces almost scored a wonder try three minutes later but his chip kick rolled over the deadball line.

Just as Leigh started to make a game of it, the Lions hit back with a spell of pressure that resulted in a converted try for Casey. Four minutes from the interval a tired defence allowed Ian Watson to break through and send Gartland over for 6 points.

At 26-6 Leigh were well out of the game, but the spirit showed in the second half was tremendous as on loan forwards Grundy and Whittle combined with the irrepressible Tim Street to provide a platform for the class of Donlan to shine in the backs.

Alan Hadcroft scored first in the second half, showing determination following a strong Costello burst and a neat pass from Donlan.

Ten minutes into the new half Paul Wingfield made a long break and debutant Purtill was forced out just short. Three minutes later, Leigh made amends as Costello and O'Loughlin drew the defence for Wingfield to cross in the corner. Unfortunateley the on-loan winger had an off day with the boot, landing just one goal from five, a conversion to the 57th minute touchdown from Anthony Murray.

As Leigh threatened their greatest comeback in history, Swinton extended their lead when a simple tackle was missed and former Rochdale standoff Gartland scored his second try on 65 minutes.

Leigh kept plugging away and were rewarded 10 minutes from time when Murray and Donohue combined on the last tackle to put Dave Hill in at the left corner.

Unfortunately it was too little, too late.

2009 Season Reports: DONCASTER 18 LEIGH CENTURIONS 24

DAVE PARKINSON at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Leigh Centurions claimed their second win of the Co-operative Championship season with a narrow victory at Doncasters impressive Keepmoat Stadium.

Winning coach Neil Kelly said that his side “needed to stop shooting itself in the foot” after they built a 24-6 lead only to be left clinging on at full-time.

He added, “We played well for fifty to sixty minutes with the ball and on defence but the age old problem with Leigh is that we shoot ourselves in the foot by giving away so many penalties.”

There was little between the two teams in the first half when for the first ten minutes Leigh remained error free without troubling the Doncaster try-line. This period was dominated by an old fashioned armwrestle between the two front rows. Andy Hobson and Dave McConnell shone for the Centurions while Craig Cook and former Wakefield Academy product Mark Castle were among the top performers for the Dons.

It was the hosts that threatened first when former Hull KR threequarter Andreas Bauer threaded a kick that forced an error and then clearance from Dave Alstead. Lee Marsh, in for his first game of the season then sparked a move at the other end when his wide pass put Stuart Donlan, then Alstead away only for an excellent tackle to force the winger out of play.

Neither side seemed able to capitalise until the 22nd minute when Ian Watson struck a 40-20. Straight from possession, Marsh collected a pass from his bootlaces and Mort was on hand to go over from his astute offload. The fullback struck the conversion and then added a superb finish after Danny Meekin and the impressive Kurt Haggerty forged an opening and Mort sped through in support. 12-0 was soon 12-6when following a short spell of pressure, Doncaster got over by the posts through Matt Carbutt for Kyle Briggs to convert.

Just before the break, Leigh grabbed their third try when Watson found Haggerty and his strength took him through an attempted tackle and over the line.

Within two minutes of the start of the second half, the Centurions added their fourth try when Chris Hill did all the running and Andy Hobson touched down. Mort added his fourth goal and Doncaster went on the attack with six minutes of continuous pressure. Wayne Riett, Castle and Briggs all went close but the defence held firm. Leigh thought they had grabbed another try when Alstead got in at the corner following a 30 metre surge from a Marsh pass. The final ball was deemed forward and the visitors were reduced to twelve men a minute later when Mike Morrison was sinbinned for a high tackle.

Doncaster spied their chance to attack and after a couple of destructive runs from the likes of Al Rounding and Nathan Freer, Craig Cook was alert at dummy half to nip through for the score. Briggs converted and the game was really put in the melting pot after 67 minutes when Andreas Bauer stole a ball from his opposite number Mort and ran 40 metres to score. Briggs again goaled and the Centurions had defend for another period before eventually claiming the win.

Dons coach Tony Miller said: “It was a winnable game for us but individual errors prevented us from claiming the three points. We have a few players back in contention now and this will only see us get stronger.”

GAMEBREAKER: The try just after halftime which left the brave Dons with too much to do

GAMESTAR: Anthony Rourke had an excellent game before leaving the field injured, special mentions for Kurt Haggerty and Dons halfback Paul Handforth who never stopped scheming.

3 Andreas Bauer
26 Gaz Carey
19 Ryan Steen
34 Luke May
5 Wayne Riette
6 Kyle Briggs
7 Paul Handforth
28 Jamie Bovill
9 Craig Cook
15 Mark Castle
11 Peter Green
17 Ross Divorty
13 Josh Weeden
22 Andy Speak
29 Matt Carbutt
16 Nathan Freer
27 Al Rounding

Tries: Carbutt (29), Cook (56), Bauer (67)
Goals: Briggs 3/3
Field Goal:
On Report:
Sin bin: (TIME) – offence

14 Ian Mort
2 Dave Alstead
1 Stuart Donlan
15 Adam Higson
3 Steve Maden
17 Lee Marsh
7 Ian Watson
8 Andy Hobson
9 Dave McConnell
10 Mike Morrison
29 Lee Wingfield
12 James Taylor
27 Anthony Rourke
Subs (All used)
4 Tony Stewart
40 Kurt Haggerty
28 Danny Meekin
10 Mike Morrison

Tries: Mort (23, 25), Haggerty (39), Hobson (42)
Goals: Mort 4/4
Field goal:
On Report:
Sin bin: Morrison (55) – High Tackle

Rugby Leaguer & League Express Men of the Match
Doncaster: Mark Castle
Leigh: Anthony Rourke

Penalty count: 12-3
Half-time: 18-6
Referee: Mr R Laughton
Attendance: 827

0-6, 0-12, 6-12, 6-18, 6-24, 12-24, 18-24.

2009 Season Reports: Pre-season Friendly: LEIGH CENTURIONS 0 WIGAN WARRIORS 32

DAVE PARKINSON at Leigh Sports Village

There is nothing to get the passion flowing quite like a Leigh and Wigan derby and these have been sadly lacking in the Rugby League calendar over recent years with Wigan’s 34-6 victory over the Centurions in 2006 being the last encounter – until now.

The official opening of the new Sports Village Stadium brought in an impressive crowd of 6,476 on a bitterly cold afternoon while Wigan certainly brought their “A” game to again show the difference between top six Super League and top six Championship.

At times the Warriors were ruthless, speedy, agile, clever and dangerous while Leigh showed once more they have a hard working team that can trouble the best but they need to develop a clinical streak to convert chances when presented.

Victorious coach Brian Noble commented, “It was a good defensive work out for us today. We weren’t as fluent as I’d have liked us to be, but we lost both our nines this week in practice. Mark Flanagan went in there really well, while we rolled Thomas Leuluai round there with Sam Tomkins. We were obviously going to lack a bit of fluidity but we bent our backs, which was good. You could see the improvement in relation to the last time we went out there – defensively. Leigh kept testing us and kept testing the systems defensively and at this time of year that is where games are going to be won and lost, on things like kick chase.”

Wigan started brightly and after trialist Brett Longstaff spilled an early pass, the Warriors piled the pressure on with Tim Smith eventually sending point scoring ace Pat Richards to the line with a long cut-out pass. Richards landed the first of four goals and the Warriors were away – 6-0.

Stuart Donlan was then halted in the corner for Leigh although Wigan charged up to the other end of the field for Iafeta Paleaaesina to make a good impression of a human wrecking ball and scatter a couple of defenders on his way to the try line. Again Richards was on form with the boot.

Wigan stepped up the pace with a superb passing move involving six players before Cameron Phelps dropped the ball in the corner. It was then Leigh’s turn to attack but whereas Wigan came up with tries on their visits into the twenty metre zone, Leigh forced drop-outs – two in succession, but other than Donlan and Jamie Smith being denied, they couldn’t convert.

Still, Leigh kept up the pressure without ever truly threatening and on the two occasions they did, first Ian Watson, then Martyn Ridyard threw passes that were intercepted by Richards and Phelps respectively. The Phelps intercept proved costly with the former Cronulla back racing downfield with Ridyard, Donlan and Adam Higson all in pursuit. Although Phelps was stopped, Wigan quickly passed wide and Andy Coley bounced Smith out of the way to touch down.

At 16-0 Leigh were hanging on again when the dynamic Harrison Hansen was held on the last tackle and that was how things remained at halftime.

Two tries in eight minutes tipped the game in Wigan’s favour. Both were a result of Leigh conceding penalties that put the visitors in good attacking areas. First Thomas Leluai burrowed through from dummy half after the Centurions failed to number up close to their own line, then a classy run from Sean O’Loughlin saw him skip two attempted tackles to cross at the side of the posts. Richards struck both goals and 28-0 looked comfortable.

O’Loughlin thought he was on route to a second try after 55 minutes but the pass from Phelps to his skipper was ruled forward. The game took on added spice shortly after the hour mark when a physical tackle on Sam Tomkins brought both packs to confrontation. This seemed to work in the Centurions favour as on the back of sterling work from James Taylor, Leigh pierced the Wigan defence for Sam Reay to be tackled close to the line. Twice, Leigh forced drop outs, but each time, the defence held firm and the Warriors again displayed their clinical edge and Super League guile when cross field passes presented an opportunity for Phil Bailey and he grounded near the corner flag for the Warriors final try after 68 minutes.

Although there was no further addition to the score, Leigh offered a little more in attack during the final ten minutes. Steve Maden’s inventive chip came to nought and John Cookson could only watch on as Phelps won the race to Watson’s delicate grubber kick.

“We won’t play teams like Wigan every week” said Leigh boss Neil Kelly afterwards. “I can’t fault the effort. We just need more composure. We forced pressure but failed to get across their line.”

GAMEBREAKER: Two tries in the first eight minutes of the second half for Wigan took the game away from Leigh and left the Centurions players scrapping for places for next weekend’s season opener at Featherstone

GAMESTAR: Thomas Leuluai – especially when switched to hooker, he caused problems galore for the Leigh defence.

1 Stuart Donlan
5 Nick Stanton
3 Steve Maden
19 Adam Rudd
22 Jamie Smith
23 Martyn Ridyard
7 Ian Watson
Brett Longstaff
9 Dave McConnell
10 Mike Morrison
12 James Taylor
11 Dave Armitstead
4 Tony Stewart
SUBS (All Used)
14 Ian Mort
Lee Marsh
15 Adam Higson
16 Chris Hill
Danny Meekin
Jamie Durbin
18 Sam Reay
20 John Cookson

Tries: -
Goals: -
Drop-goals: -

1 Richard Mathers
21 Cameron Phelps
3 Darrell Goulding
4 George Carmont
5 Pat Richards
6 Tim Smith
7 Thomas Leuluai
8 Stuart Fielden
26 Mark Flanagan
10 Iafeta Paleaaesina
11 Gareth Hock
12 Philip Bailey
13 Sean O’Loughlin
Subs: (All Used)
14 Joel Tomkins
15 Andy Coley
16 Harrison Hansen
19 Paul Prescott
20 Karl Pryce
23 Eamon O’Carroll
25 Sam Tomkins

Tries: Richards (3), Paleaaesina (15), Coley (30), Leuluai (46), O’Loughlin (48), Bailey (68).
Goals: Richards 4/6

Referee: Mr Phil Bentham.
Penalties: 9-11
Attendance: 6,476.
Halftime: 0-16.

Rugby Leaguer and League Express Men of the Match:
Leigh: Stuart Donlan
Wigan: Thomas Leuluai

2009 Season Reports: Pre-season Friendly: LEIGH CENTURIONS 28 OLDHAM 20

DAVE PARKINSON at Leigh Sports Village

Leigh Centurions got their pre-season away to a winning start at the third attempt following a tough encounter against Oldham that had Centurions boss Neil Kelly praising the quality of the Roughyeds squad.

“Oldham have acquired a squad that wouldn’t look out of place in our division. I was really pleased to get the win, primarily.” He said.

“I think we needed it for morale. I was very pleased with some performances and felt that when we fronted up as a team, we exerted what authority we could. We were just going through the motions in the first half and I think when we started playing with more urgency and purpose, we were a lot better.”

The visitors grabbed the first try when Paul O’Connor evaded a tackle after build up passes by Coyle brothers James and Thomas who formed part of a solid midfield quartet with Simeon Hoyle and Robert Roberts. Leigh’s response came after 17 minutes when Dave McConnell put a kick behind the try line and Adam Higson pounced. Mort added the first of four goals but the Roughyeds were still in control when James Coyle found Halliwell. He slipped a Sam Reay tackle before Andrew Ballard hared over and converted.

Oldham were worthy of their lead at this stage and Lee Greenwood ran clear only to be brought back for a forward pass. The Centurions scored against the run of play when Martyn Ridyard cleverly intercepted Phil Joseph’s pass from dummy half to run 30 metres. Parity resumed when Ballard scored his second from Thomas Coyle’s clever kick following a lapse in Leigh’s discipline.

If the first half was Oldham’s, the second was Leigh’s. Ian Mort scored two minutes after the restart when Oldham lost possession deep in their own twenty but his missed conversion meant the scores were locked 16-16.

Although Higson was sinbinned for his part in a confrontation with Jamie I’Anson, the Leigh defence held firm. Ridyard later conjured a break from nothing and the Centurions forced a drop out. This pressure told on Oldham and one time Roughyed Ian Watson sent impressive Dave Armitstead over for a try by the posts. Halliwell sailed through a gap to finish from 20 metres to give Leigh a few anxious moments before Lee Marsh’s impressive cameo resulted in a try. The big substitute worked an opening near the Oldham line and just as players converged, his astute kick found Dale Cunniffe.

“I thought it was a game we should have won.” Oldham coach Tony Benson said. “It was field position and losing control of the tempo of the ruck at crucial stages that opened it up for Leigh as well as giving away silly penalties when we had built pressure. They are all things which probably come from lack of time on the field.”

GAMEBREAKER: That astute kick from Marsh that saw Cunniffe score in the corner – Leigh then had an important buffer.

GAMESTAR: Dave Armitstead just kept going and going, and going, in attack and defence.

1 Stuart Donlan
22 Jamie Smith
18 Sam Reay
3 Steve Maden
14 Ian Mort
23 Martyn Ridyard
7 Ian Watson
20 John Cookson
9 Dave McConnell
10 Mike Morrison
15 Adam Higson
12 James Taylor
11 Dave Armitstead
Subs (All used)
24 Dean Hatton
Lee Wingfield
Danny Meekin
4 Tony Stewart
21 Dale Cunniffe
16 Chris Hill
Brett Longstaff
Jamie Durbin
MacGraff Leualai

Tries: Higson (17), Ridyard (35), Mort (42), Armitstead (65), Cunniffe (74).
Goals: Mort 4/5.
Field goal:
On Report:
Sin bin: Higson (50) – high tackle

1 Paul O’Connor
2 Andrew Ballard
3 Danny Halliwell
Marcus St Hilaire
5 Lee Greenwood
6 James Coyle
7 Thomas Colyle
8 Jason Boults
9 Simeon Hoyle
10 Jamie I’Anson
11 Tommy Goulden
12 Dave Allen
13 Robert Roberts
SUBS (All Used)
14 Neil Roden
4 Luke Menzies
16 Gary Sykes
17 Phil Joseph
18 Chris Baines
19 Lucas Onyango
20 Wayne Kerr

Tries: O’Connor (9), Ballard (25, 39), Halliwell (70)
Goals: Ballard 2/4.
On Report:
Sin bin: (TIME) – offence

Rugby Leaguer & League Express Men of the Match
Centurions: Dave Armitstead
Oldham: Dave Allen

Penalty count: 7-10
Half-time: 12-16
Referee: Mr D Merrick
Attendance: 1,700

0-6; 6-6; 6-12; 12-12; 12-16; 16-16; 22-16; 22-20; 28-20

Thursday, 7 January 2010

2003 Season Reports: Play-offs: LEIGH CENTURIONS 42 HULL KINGSTON ROVERS 12

28th September
By Dave Parkinson
Leigh Centurions made it to a third Grand Final in four years by virtue of a 42-12 success over Hull Kingston Rovers.

Straight from the kick-off the home side tore into the visitors. Neil Turley started the scoreboard ticking with a second minute penalty and the visitors were shell shocked as tries from Danny Halliwell and Leroy Rivett made the score 12-0 after only 16 minutes. Rovers struggled to contain a rampant outfit for whom Paul Rowley and Adam Bristow were outstanding and a further penalty from Turley made it 14-0.

Rovers then threatened to make a game of it when Paul Mansson produced a moment of brilliance from his box of tricks and scored an individual try. Lynton Stott was unable to add the extras and from the restart an uncompromising hit on substitute Aziue forced the big Papuan international to spill possession. In their next set the Centurions took charge again when Sean Richardson handed onto Turley who looked all set to score before unselfishly handing on to Pat Weisner for the stand-off to add his 10th of the season.

Two minutes later the Centurions were at their spell-binding best as Adam Bristow's cut out pass hit Halliwell and the centre broke clear before changing the direction of attack for Rivett to sprint away for his second touchdown.

Leigh continued to dominate possession, as Rovers wilted under pressure and there was little surprise when David Bradbury powered over seven mints from the interval to top an outstanding first half performance and confirm a 32-4 score line. Rovers mustered one last attack before the break when Farrell raced clear but Sean Richardson showed tremendous character to put him in touch following an exciting chase.

With nothing to lose Rovers were galvanised in the second half and mounted increasing pressure on the Leigh line. An early spell was followed by the sin binning of Rivett after the winger held a Hull player down and was shown the yellow card. Despite being a man down, Leigh had the better of play, with Rovers twice conceding penalties that Turley converted into points.

A high tackle from Rovers on Paul Norman saw the incident placed on report after 56 minutes but the half swung back in Rovers favour as Leigh conceded some rather harsh looking penalties and turned over some cheap ball. With possession heavily in their favour, the visitors finally cracked the home line when Parker scored on the right and a second try followed five minutes later when quick passing released McLarron and the winger scorched over by the flag.

Just before the finish, Leigh got their act together once more when twice in the same set, Rivett made good metres. On the second occasion he sliced through the defence, ran 40 metres before releasing the supporting Damian Munro to the posts for his 31st try of the season. Lee Sanderson completed the scoring with the kick and Leigh set up a 7th winner takes all clash with Salford.

2003 Season Reports: WHITEHAVEN 8 LEIGH 20

20th July

Centurions defeat Haven to remain joint top.

By Dave Parkinson

Leigh Centurions gained only their second win in 14 years at the Recreation Ground on Sunday following a hard fought game against Whitehaven.

The Cumbrian hosts went into the game with virtually a full team while Leigh lacked several key personnel and even included under-18 players Richard Grimes and Kieron Maddocks in their 18 man squad. Maddocks later made a solid debut in the final 10 minutes and alongside him on the bench was Anthony Blackwood, recalled from a loan spell at Chorley due to the Centurions current injury problems.

A tense first half found scoring opportunities at a premium with defences firmly on top. In the second minute 'Haven opened the scoring when scrum-half Darren Holt converted a penalty from halfway after support for David Fatialofa's midfield break was held back.

Whitehaven also had the next scoring chance when only a flying cover tackle from Sonny Nickle halted the winger short.

As the Centurions grew in confidence, so did their attack. Neil Turley was the catalyst, breaking three times including twice from deep and unlocking the defence with a pass that put Bryan Henare into a gaping hole only for the big Kiwi to be denied by a double movement. Turley also kicked a 40-20, forced two drop outs and his boot led directly to the first Leigh try in the 18th minute when Damian Munro comfortably collected the crossfield bomb to score his 25th try of an ever productive season.

Both teams defended magnificently for the rest of the half with the Leigh line coming under heavy bombardment in the closing stages.

The second half started in much the same vein before Leigh took control with 3 tries.

The first fell to Sean Richardson who dummied his way between David Seeds and Holt to score. Then in the 57th minute, following Munro's initial foray in centre-field, Adam Bristow combined with Nickle to send the former Saint racing over for a converted try.

Just four minutes later Leigh were on top again when another classy pass from Turley put Henare away and this time there was no stopping the forward as he went over for his third try of the season. Turley converted brilliantly from the sideline and the Centurions led 20-2.

The game threatened to boil over ten minutes from time when Leroy Joe and Paul Rowley began fighting after the Leigh hooker put pressure on the Haven stand-off at a kick. Both players were sinbinned and the incident was placed on report by the match official before Richardson flattened Whitehaven sub Carl Sice with a high tackle that looked more clumsy than malicious.

Thankfully all the players returned to playing rugby and 'Haven were finally rewarded for their efforts when Howard Hill powered clear from a scrum 40 metres out in the last minute.

Man-of-the-Match: The pack was brilliant today but Neil Turley was in a class of his own, playing fullback in defence and stand-off in attack.

Watts, Rivett, Hadcroft, Munro, Alstead; Turley, Swann; Nickle, Rowley, Bradbury, Richardson, Henare, Bristow; Maddocks, Blackwood, Ball, Norman.

Tries: Munro, Richardson, Nickle, Henare
Goals: Turley 2

Try: Hill
Goal: Holt 2

2003 Season Reports: LEIGH 12 SALFORD 32

22nd June

Centurions lose to Reds in top of table battle

By Dave Parkinson

The much anticipated National League One game between Leigh Centurions and Salford City Reds started with fireworks and a buzz around the ground when new player-assistant coach Tommy Martyn was introduced to the crowd but it was the Reds who provided the spark on the pitch, racing into a 20-0 lead.

The first quarter belonged to the Reds after a tentative opening saw mistakes aplenty by the two teams and a disallowed try from John Duffy. Salford scored their first try in the 11th minute when Cliff Beverley supported a break in centre-field to finish under the posts.

Things began to look ominous for the Centurions when Gavin Clinch threw a long pass that created a break over on the Leigh right and then scampered over in support of former Leigh second-rower Simon Baldwin. Chris Charles converted before Clinch was the architect of another score, this time Alan Hunte raced over from 40 metres.

Referee Colin Morris then made a contentious decision awarding a try to Danny Arnold after Damian Munro tried to keep the ball in play from a Clinch switch kick. Charles missed with the conversion and Leigh eventually registered their first points five minutes later.

A good kick down-field was fielded but an obstruction by Baldwin handed the initiative to the Centurions. Willie Swann took the tap and found Bristow who dragged in Beverley and Hunte before turning the ball inside for Sean Richardson to score. Pat Weisner converted and Leigh put themselves in with a chance on the stroke of halftime thanks to a 45 metre interception try from Damian Munro. Again Weisner converted and Leigh trailed 20-12 at the interval.

Leigh needed to start brightly and they did with several offloads and good running from Bryan Henare, Willie Swann and David Bradbury. The appearance of Lee Sanderson also saw early impetus but this was soon lost when instead of building pressure, Leigh tried to score from every other play. The result was a lot of lost ball and Salford were able to wear their opponents down.

Mr Morris was soon centre of attention again penalising Leigh twice in the space of five minutes for late challenges on Gavin Clinch, one of which saw the ever effective Sonny Nickle placed on report. Salford were unlikely to turn down such gifts and Charles tagged another four points to the visitors tally before another penalty on 62 minutes from Steve Blakeley put 14 points between the sides.

Leigh struggled to gain possession and when they did, compounded matters with a handling error but to their credit they continued to try hard. Salford scored their final try 13 minutes from the end when Clinch put a kick in that deflected off Henare's thigh into the path of Jason Flowers for the fullback to score, Blakeley again added the extras. Had Salford not thrown two forward passes they could have added further tries from Arnold and Mick Berne, while at the other end more sure handling could have seen Dale Holdstock grab a consolation.

Man-of-the-Match: Top defensive efforts from second rowers Bryan Henare and Sean Richardson made Man-of-the-Match a close run thing but the best display came from David Bradbury who really took the game to the Reds, well supported by fellow bench player Lee Sanderson.

Leigh: Alstead, Munro, Hadcroft, Kendrick, Watts; Weisner, Swann; Nickle, Duffy, Norman, Richardson, Henare, Bristow; Ball, Sanderson, Holdstock, Bradbury.

Salford: Flowers, Arnold, Littler, Hunte, Berne; Beverley, Clinch; Baines, Alker, Coley, Baldwin, P. Highton, Charles; Blakeley, D. Highton, Kirk, Haggerty.

(Minutes in Brackets)
Leigh Tries: Richardson 1 (31), Munro 1 (38).
Leigh Goals: Weisner 2/2.

Salford Tries: Beverley 1 (11), Clinch 1 (17), Hunte 1 (21), Arnold 1 (26), Flowers 1 (67).
Salford Goals: Charles 4/6, Blakeley 2/2.

Attendance: 4,000.


A case for the defence

Summary by Dave Parkinson.
Leigh again conceded far too many points , yet got the attacking part of their game right. In total the Centurions scored 10 tries against fellow play-off hopefuls Rochdale who managed 6 of their own against a generous Leigh side. If Leigh can get both sides of their play to click in the same game, somebody will know about it!

The second half was a joy to watch as the Centurions did the simple things right and scored some attractive tries as they rattled 42 points up after trailing 16-18 at the interval.

During that first period, Hornets four times embarrassed defenders and indeed led 18-6 at one point with former Leigh players Gareth Price and Jon Roper well involved. Leigh hit back before the break however with tries from Dale Cardoza and Damian Munro.

The star of a whirlwind second half was Neil Turley who scored 26 points (3 tries, 7 goals) but gave medical staff a scare when picking up an ankle injury that is likely to keep the talented full-back out for a period of around four weeks. After making a tackle Turley was left writhing in pain and was carried off before later leaving the ground for hospital sporting a pair of crutches.

Leigh's other injury concern is Sonny Nickle - the former Saint was again forced from the field with an occurrence of the eye injury he suffered against Chorley a week early.

Forwards Dave Bradbury and Paul Rowley again led from the front.


4th May

Bulldog spirit dampened by rampant Centurions

By Dave Parkinson

Leigh went a 3rd game unbeaten in National League One with an impressive 38-12 success over Batley. Leading 12-0 at the interval Leigh attacked up the infamous Mount Pleasant slope with renewed vigour to score four second half tries in addition to their three in the first half.

Initially both sides kept things tight before Leigh hit out with a fine opener in the 10th minute from Phil Kendrick after Dale Cardoza provided the running and Adam Bristow then turned the ball inside for his support. John Duffy couldn't convert and was wide with a second attempt after the scrum-half worked an opening for Bristow to race over from 30 metres in the 34th minute.

The 24 minutes between scores saw Batley work hard but a well organised defence claimed the upper hand with only the kicking of Barry Eaton, charges of Andy Spink and a one-sided penalty count gaining territory.

Just short of the break the Centurions grabbed a third try from Duffy before a brawl erupted after Craig Lingard allegedly kicked the scrum-half after scoring. Pat Weisner stepped up to attempt the conversion but he too was wide.

Batley made a great start to the second half with a mammoth 40-20 kick from Gibbons and were soon on the scoreboard when Leon Williamson scored in the corner. Eaton converted and the Bulldogs were right back in it at 12-6.

The game was evenly poised until the hour when Weisner added a penalty, much to the ironic cheers of the travelling Leigh faithful but far better was to follow.

Returning from suspension, Cardoza once again stamped his presence on the game with a fantastic 30 metre run through three defenders before passing for Dave Alstead to score his 7th try of the season despite the best efforts of Lingard and the knees of Ryan Horsley.

Batley weren't finished and came back at their visitors with a fine try from Lingard but this only snapped Leigh into action and they showed a fine ruthless streak to score three times in the last eight minutes. Sonny Nickle, Paul Rowley and Paul Norman each finished high speed moves as the Centurions blew the Bulldogs away. Weisner continued his fine kicking to close the game with 5 goals from 6 attempts.

Man-of-the-Match: Take your pick! Halfbacks John Duffy and Pat Weisner controlled the game, Paul Rowley worked well, Sonny Nickle, Sean Richardson, Paul Norman and David Bradbury didnt take a backward step and Dave Alstead gave another solid display at the back.

Team: Alstead, Watts, Kendrick, Cardoza, Munro; Weisner, Duffy; Nickle, Rowley, Norman, Richardson, Henare, Bristow; Swann, Holdstock, Sanderson, Bradbury.

Scorers: Tries: Kendrick (10 mins), Bristow (34), Duffy (39), Alstead (63), Nickle (72), Rowley (74), Norman (79).

Goals: Duffy 0/2, Weisner 5/6.

2003 Season Reports: LEIGH 19 WHITEHAVEN 12

21st April

Leigh send Whitehaven back to Cumbria with nothing

By Dave Parkinson.
The Centurions much maligned defence found form at the Coliseum on Monday night, laying the platform for a 19-12 win that could have been greater had either John Duffy or Lee Sanderson brought their shooting boots.

Bossing things early on, Leigh were awarded the first two penalties of the game but Duffy struck the post and the chance was lost. Good work from the Centurion pack took Leigh within range again and Bryan Henare got on the outside of his man, into a big hole off a clever Sanderson pass for the opening try after 13 minutes.

Hard-working Haven replied with a 25th minute penalty from Darren Holt but Leigh were still in ascendancy and should have scored when breaks down the left came to nothing and Holdstock was tackled touch-in-goal following a powerful surge. Things were close and a missed penalty from Sanderson before the break meant the half-time score remained 6-2 in the Centurions favour.

Leigh were on the back foot right from the restart when Willie Swann spilled possession and the ball was collected from an off-side position. Holt added the easy penalty but Leigh were in no mood to squander this one and Swann made amends after 50 minutes with an intelligent kick for the corner. Chasing through Phil Kendrick could have collected but the centre opted to dab the ball inside where Paul Rowley scooped the ball up and dived over. Again the conversion fell short, but Leigh were enjoying their best spell of the game, starving Whitehaven of possession.

A monster 35 metre drop-goal from substitute Patrick Weisner opened a seven point lead on 53 minutes and you could sense it was going to be Leigh's night when the usually reliable Holt hooked a fairly simple penalty wide. Two minutes later Holdstock broke, showing good speed to finish from 40 metres. Unfortunately Sanderson struck the upright with his conversion attempt.

Despite trailing 15-4 the visitors weren't done. Leroy Joe collected a Sanderson chip kick to break through the cover and send Jamie Stenhouse racing in at the corner after 61 minutes.

It was fitting that a tough game of rugby league was decided on the back of great defence. Rowley raced after Joe on the last tackle forcing a hurried kick, taken on the full by Alan Hadcroft. Hadcroft swerved into a gap and sped away before passing out to Dave Alstead who finished a 70 metre move with a dive for the corner. Duffy missed with the extras before Haven scored a late consolation through Stenhouse.

Man-of-the-Match - Take your pick from Paul Rowley, Dale Holdstock, Bryan Henare and Sonny Nickle. The quartet were outstanding with perhaps Rowley just edging it.

Leigh: Alstead, Watts, Holdstock, Kendrick, Hadcroft; Sanderson, Duffy; Nickle, Rowley, Norman, Richardson, Henare, Bristow; Swann, Weisner, Hamilton, Bradbury.

Whitehaven: Broadbent, Wood, Seeds, Hill, Stenhouse; Joe, Holt; Vaughan, Lester, Fatialofa, McKinney, Morton, Purdham; Kiddie, Miller, Whitehead, Cunningham.

Leigh Scorers:
Tries: Henare (13 mins), Rowley (50 mins), Holdstock (58 mins), Alstead (68 mins).
Goals: Sanderson 1/4, Duffy 0/2.
Drop Goal: Weisner.

Whitehaven Scorers:
Tries: Stenhouse 2 (61 mins, 79 mins).
Goals: Holt 2/4.

Attendance: 1,996.

2003 Season Reports: CHORLEY 31 LEIGH 22

6th April

Chorley stun Leigh

By Dave Parkinson

Chorley confirmed their growing status with a sparkling display against a poor Leigh side this afternoon. After coming within 7 minutes of an upset victory at The Willows last weekend, the Centurions, already qualified for the next round of the Arriva Trains Cup, turned in their worst performance of the season.

The Lynx quickly got in the Centurion faces and an early penalty from Mark McCully gave the home side an advantage. Leigh lacked ideas in attack while defence at times appeared far more hesitant than in recent games. Chorley took advantage when a smart break up the middle of the field was carried forward by Mike Briggs and finished off by Martin Gambles - the first of a hat-trick by the former Wigan and Gateshead halfback. Again McCully was accurate with the boot before Leigh replied through an unconverted try by Adam Bristow. Chorley continued to have the better of things but McCully missed with a penalty and the sides went in at the interval.

Early in the second half Neil Turley scored a fine converted try and the Centurions looked set to kick on but a wild pass inside their own 30' was intercepted and Gambles scurried away for his second try. Lee Sanderson again thought he'd rescued the game when a fine stepping run finished approach play by Paul Rowley but soft defence was to be the Centurions downfall. Former Widnes hooker Mike Briggs grabbed a decisive try that was followed five minutes later by Mark McCully as the visitors defensive line again hesitated after knocking on a kick through.

Four minutes later and trailing 22-16, Dale Cardoza lashed out at former Leigh player Safraz Patel after offloading the ball. Patel fell to the ground and following a short consultation with the touchjudge, Cardoza was sent off. Chorley immediately made use of the extra man. Rowley and Bristow missed tackles on McCully and he was then allowed to offload for the supporting Gambles to grab his hat-trick try.

Trailing 28-16, the Centurions rallied slightly and Patrick Weisner touched down Sanderson's grubber kick for Turley to convert superbly from the touchline. Leigh couldn't push on however with a John Braddish drop goal virtually guaranteeing victory for the Lynx.

A further penalty from home man-of-the-match McCully in injury time completed the score and a disappointing day for the Centurions.

In the wake of the defeat, Paul Terzis admitted that Chorley were the better side. "We are very disappointed with that performance. Chorley showed more passion than us and their planning worked to perfection. We were well below par and have to acknowledge that as coaching staff and players we let the supporters and ourselves down today."

Man-of-the-Match - So few Leigh players found any form today, however club captain David Bradbury gave the Centurions best go-forward. Honorary mention must also be made of Paul Norman who gave a good account of himself in his first game for 12 months.

Tries: Bristow, Turley, Sanderson, Weisner.
Goals: Turley 3/4.

Team: Turley, Andrews, Munro, Cardoza, Watts; Wesiner, Sanderson; Norman, Rowley, Henare, Richardson, Bristow, Swann; Nickle, Hadcroft, Rivett, Bradbury.

1999 Season Reports: April: OLDHAM 20 LEIGH 26

By Dave Parkinson.

Gutsy Oldham took Leigh down to the wire in an often scrappy but never dull encounter at Rochdale's Spotland Stadium.

In his programme notes Oldham coach Mick Coates expected a tough encounter in the forwards. He wasn't disappointed as the clash between Jason Clegg and Tim Street was equal to the pre-match billing.

Leigh started brightly and scored their first try after just 7 minutes when Dave Ingram somehow wriggled through 3 defenders for an unconverted score.

Oldham had rarely threatened the visitors line but found themselves level when Leigh let their discipline slip and Wood added two penalty goals.

The Centurions hit back in the 27th minute with a close range try from Street. Ten minutes later the Oldham-born prop was over again following a barnstorming run and Leigh looked likely to romp to victory at 14-4.

Five minutes after the restart a bomb from Brown caused mayhem in the Leigh defence and the ball was fed to former Rochdale centre Farrell for a 6 pointer.

This try sparked Oldham's confidence and they took a shock lead in the 50th minute with a 30 metre run from exciting winger Mead following good approach play from the scrum by Wood and Jackman.

Leigh suffered a blow seven minutes later when their influential skipper Craig Dean was carried from the field with an ankle injury and Keiron Purtill switched from centre to half back as cover. At this stage the home side had victory in their sights.

Anthony Murray had other ideas and accelerated over on the hour after Oldham were found wanting at the play-the-ball.

Radney Bowker made the game safe with a trailing run on the inside after Keiron Purtill's break again found Oldham on the back foot. Paul Wingfield added his third goal to complete Leigh's score.

Cheered by an enthusiastic crowd, Oldham scored a deserved try in the final minute, Mead diving onto a kick after a slow reaction from Arkwright to make the final score 26-20 to the visitors.

Game Stars:

Oldham: Jason Clegg had a good game up front taking the fight to the Leigh pack. Arian Mead showed what an exciting prospect he is with two well taken tries.

Leigh: Tim Street was the pick of Leigh's pack, leading from the front with excellent yardage and no shortage of skill. Keiron Purtill impressed with a hard hitting defensive game and came to his own when switched to scrum-half, creating Bowker's matchwinning touchdown.

Attendance: 2163 - an encouraging attendance for Oldham, more than double the usual crowds of Rochdale Hornets.

1999 Season Reports: March: LEIGH 16 FEATHERSTONE 12

By Dave Parkinson

A 67th minute converted try from home loose-forward Andy Fairclough was the difference between the Rovers and Centurions at Hilton Park.

Rovers, fresh from their 28-12 midweek success against Widnes, found a rugged Leigh side resolute in defence and failed to capitalise on their possession in the Centurions half.

Leigh made a whirlwind start and caught Rovers cold in the fourth minute when the Liku-Ingram combination (so successful against Rochdale) sprized the defence open and the latter crossed for his 7th touchdown of the season.

Featherstone recovered from this early blow and their pack, superbly directed by Richard Chapman started to mount a challenge. It was Chapman who troubled the scoreboard next with a 14th minute penalty following a long run from exciting winger Jamie Stokes.

Increased pressure from Rovers finally saw the Leigh defence crack and Stokes squeezed in at the corner for an unconverted try.

In 1998, that try may have signalled a points avalanche for the visitors, but Leigh displayed confidence and self-belief to hit back after 31 minutes when Craig Dean's lobbed pass found Hadcroft, who slipped the cover from 10 metres and made the score 8-6 to the home team.

Two minutes later Hadcroft was helped from the field after a bone-shaking tackle from Okesene.

Leigh's slender half-time advantage was wiped out early in the second half when Chapman added a second penalty.

Fairclough's try gave the Centurions a 16-8 lead before former Adelaide winger Simmonds crashed over five minutes from time for Rovers and ensured a tense last few minutes for both Rovers and Leigh fans. Leigh however kept their nerve and tackled well to claim the win.

Leigh Centurions: Andy Fairclough was again a tower of strength at the scrumbase and confirmed his growing reputation with the matchwinning try.

Featherstone Rovers: Former Super League stars Okesene and Tuuta were prominent in both attack
and defence and their clash with the home front row was worth the admission fee alone.

1999 Season Reports: March: ROCHDALE HORNETS 22 LEIGH CENTURIONS 40

Rochdale Hornets 22 Leigh Centurions 40
By Dave Parkinson.
Prolific try poacher David Ingram helped himself to a hat-trick but could realistically have scored five as the Centurions marched to an emphatic 8-try victory over disappointing Rochdale at Spotland.

The game started ominously for Hornets when Liku carved an opening in the defence and put Ingram clear only for referee Morris to cancel the score for a forward pass.

Moments later the same Liku-Ingram combination created an opening and club skipper Craig Dean, returning from injury crossed by the posts.

Ingram finally registered his first try after 8 minutes and Leigh were looking very lively at 10-0. Another possible Ingram try was then disallowed for a suspect double movement and Rochdale were able to hit back.

A couple of penalties saw Rochdale gain good field position. Leigh found this pressure too much, twice cracking as Knowles and then Burgess scored converted tries for a slender 12-10 Hornets advantage.

Leigh stormed back in the form of Andy Fairclough, swatting his way past two defenders from a scrum for a 28th minute try. A six minute purple patch at the start of the second half then put Rochdale to the sword as the Centurions slipped into another gear and fully capitalised with tries from Phil Kendrick, Ingram and Anthony Murray.

The latter was the try of the match as Dean and Keiron Purtill made the opening that sent a rampaging Street on a 30 metre run and Murray collected the inside pass to outpace the cover.

All shellshocked Rochdale could muster in reply was an unconverted try from substitute Hilton. Leigh continued to pile forward and Hadcroft was held up over the line.

A forward pass denied Ingram his 3rd on the hour but the centre made amends with a trademark jinking run 10 minutes later. Fairclough added Leigh's 8th and final try taking a short ball for his 5th of the season for Dean Purtill to add his 4th goal.

A last minute penalty try to Hornets made the score more respectable but coach Deryck Fox must be worried at his teams defence and thankful the score did not reach 50 or 60.

2003 Season Reports: LEIGH 62 SWINTON 6

Turley bags 38 points as Leigh ravage Lions


Neil Turley equaled the club points in a game record held by John Woods (twice) with a master class of support play and nine goals at the Coliseum this afternoon. The Centurion full-back, four games into his comeback from a niggling back complaint opened the scoring with a try of his own making off a tap penalty in the eleventh minute.

Moments later typical tracking down the middle produced another try beneath the posts. Skipper Adam Bristow followed him over the line before a period of sloppy play created a rise in the error count. This culminatied in a Swinton try by former Leeds centre Phil Hassan.

Two minutes from the break club captain Dave Bradbury forced his way through a static defensive line and the Centurions led 20-6.

Swinton held firm until the 47th minute when Turley grabbed his hat-trick but more was to follow as the Centurions added four tries in a mesmerising 10 minute purple patch. Paul Rowley, Bristow, Sean Richardson and Damian Munro all crossed to finish high speed moves.

The final word was with Turley however, and tries after 68 and 78 minutes plus some solid goal-kicking led him to equal the records set on September 11th 1977 and 12th January 1992 by club legend John Woods.

Attendance: 2,026

Team: Turley, Rivett, Munro, Cardoza, Alstead; Weisner, Duffy; Ball, Rowley, Henare, Richardson, Bristow, Swann; Holdstock, Andrews, Sanderson, Bradbury.

Tries: Turley (5), Bristow (2), Bradbury, Rowley, Richardson, Munro.
Goals: Turley 9/11.

2003 Season Reports: LEIGH 38 CHORLEY 20


By Dave Parkinson
It was comfortable but it could and should have been better.

The Centurions made it 3 wins from 4 games with victory over Chorley but the manner of victory was far from convincing, especially a scrappy second half that saw a spirited Lynx outscore Leigh by 14-10.

Despite the victory Paul Terzis was far from happy at an abject defensive performance from his troops - keeping his players in the dressing room for around 20 minutes after the full-time whistle.

"I'm not going to concern myself with our attack. What we spoke about at half-time was our defence and our defence wasn't acceptable. We have addressed it at the end of the game with a bit of talk, but talk is cheap. We are going to really focus hard on our defence. While the most important part is to win games we've got to work harder and harder on our defence and make sure it's right because over the past three weeks we've let in 28 points, 20 points and 10 points and it isn't acceptable.

"There were some very soft tries scored against soft defensive options. I don't care if we make mistakes in attack, that's what we are all about we like scoring tries and we are going to make errors but its how you respond to those things and it wasn't acceptable defensively. It's not the standards that we set ourselves, especially on our work ethic and what we are doing in training."

"You've got to give a bit of credit to Chorley, they kept coming at us and made us pay the price. They should have possibly come up with a couple more tries. I don't think we were ever in danger of losing the game but again with the standards we set ourselves defensively, we certainly let ourselves down."

For the opening 20 minutes Leigh looked set to rack up the points as tries from Leroy Rivett, Dale Cardoza and Paul Rowley established a 16-0 advantantage. Cardoza's was the pick of the bunch when halfbacks John Duffy and Pat Weisner linked to put the centre in space and he blasted away from Mick Redford to score from 55 metres. Simon Smith barged over for Chorley as Leigh rested on their laurels but further tries from John Duffy and Willie Swann saw Leigh establish a 28-6 half-time lead.

Tries in the opening 16 minutes from Rivett and Bryan Henare continued the scoring vein before Leigh seemingly declared at 38-6. To be fair the Centurions suffered injury disruption, Sonny Nickle left the field and top forward Sean Richardson also had a spell on the sideline. While the Centurions laboured on, Chorley decided to take the game to the home side. Former Leigh legend Tim Street played a great role in the Lynx fightback, scoring a try and offloading for fun in a last quarter that saw Mike Briggs and Marlon Miller also get on the scoreboard.

Man-of-the-Match: Sean Richardson was a tower of strength and the back-row of him, Bryan Henare and Adam Bristow is starting to look useful.

Tries: Rivett (2), Cardoza, Swann, Duffy, Henare, Rowley
Goals: Duffy 5/6, Sanderson 0/1.

Team: Watts, Rivett, Munro, Cardoza, Hadcroft; Weisner, Duffy; Nickle, Rowley, Ball, Richardson, Henare, Bristow; Swann, Sanderson, Hamilton, Holdstock.

Attendance: 1,871.