Leigh Centurions 31
Tries: McNally (9, 33, 50), Worthington (42), Higham (44)
Goals: Ridyard 5/6
Field Goal: Brierley
Featherstone Rovers 12
Tries: Blackmore (2), Hardman – penalty try (72)
Goals: Sykes 2/2
Leigh Centurions secured a two point lead at the top of the Kingstone Press Championship with a 31-12 victory over Featherstone Rovers in the final game of the Summer Bash.
It was an ill-tempered affair that struggled to live up to the pre-match hype, as it seemed that the game was stopped every two minutes due to the players coming together.
Micky Higham returned to his home town club after a £50,000 move from Warrington Wolves and marked his second debut with a try, as Gregg McNally was in for a hat-trick.
Featherstone opened the scoring two minutes in, as they forced Liam Kay into touch early on and Ben Blackmore was sent over out wide by Paul Sykes’ perfect no-look cut out ball. Sykes then converted from the touchline for a 6-0 lead.
Leigh were level seven minutes later as Ryan Brierley stepped his way through the Rovers defence and Greg McNally was on hand to support the halfback and touchdown under the sticks. Ridyard’s conversion from in front made it 6-all.
The game was getting out of control as a couple of scuffles disrupted the flow of the game, and on 26 minutes it was 12 against 12. Paul Wood was sent off for what the referee described as ‘gouging’ as he came together with Bob Beswick and Sam Barlow was sent for a ten minute sit down in the aftermath.
Leigh were awarded a penalty and Ridyard took the opportunity to edge his side ahead with a penalty goal.
Seven minutes before the break the Centurions’ fullback McNally was over for his second as he dummied his way over from behind the play the ball, and Ridyard’s third conversion made it 14-6.
Will Sharp went close for Rovers but he couldn’t quite ground the ball in a diving attempt before Brierley added a field goal on the hooter as Featherstone trailed 15-6 at half-time.
It took just two minutes of the second period for Leigh to make the most of their man advantage as Greg Worthington was too strong from close range and grabbed an unconverted try.
And two minutes later Higham marked his return to his hometown club by ducking his way over from a yard out to further extend their lead after a brilliant break from Oliver Wilkes from the kick off, with Ridyard’s conversion making it 25-6.
McNally was in for his hat-trick on the 50th minute when a well worked scrum move saw the number one slice through the Rovers defence to reach out and score, with a fifth Ridyard conversion putting Leigh out of sight at 31-6.
The game continued to boil over and Gaz Hock, who was lucky not to be sin binned earlier in the game, was yellow carded for a coming together with Sharp after 65 minutes. Less than a minute later Gareth Moore joined Hock in the bin for punching McNally.
We had another man in the bin with nine minutes left as Kay was sin binned for a professional foul on Thomas Minns as he looked like scoring, however a penalty try was somehow not awarded.
Then a minute later a one was bizarrely awarded when the knees of McNally stopped Ian Hardman from scoring a try, or at least he thought he did as the video referee gave a penalty try. Sykes converted to the consolation effort to make it 31-12.
Jonny Pownall was denied a last minute try by the video referee as he decided it was double movement with Leigh Centurions rounding off the first ever Summer Bash with a 31-12 victory over Featherstone Rovers.
Nothing But RL Man of the Match: Martyn Ridyard’s kicking game was brilliant as usual as he managed to stay away from the trouble, keep his head down and lead his side to victory.
1. Greg McNally, 15. Jonny Pownall, 16. Michael Platt, 3. Greg Worthington, 5. Liam Kay, 6. Martyn Ridyard, 7. Ryan Brierley, 8. FuiFui MoiMoi, 9. Bob Beswick, 29. Jake Emmitt, 22. Andrew Dixon, 12. Tommy Goulden, 13. Sam Barlow Subs: 30. Micky Higham, 10. Oliver Wilkes, 20. Sam Hopkins, 26. Gareth Hock
21. Jy Hitchcox, 5. Ben Blackmore, 1. Ian Hardman, 4. Thomas Minns, 2. Will Sharp, 6. Paul Sykes, 7. Gareth Moore, 8. Jordan Baldwinson, 9. Andy Ellis, 10. Paul Wood, 12. Reni Maitua, 18. Jamie Cording, 17. Matt James Subs: 23. Luke Teasdale, 16. Andy Bostock, 30. Gareth Carvell, 20. Ryan Verlinden