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Batley Bulldogs 24 – 22 Leigh Centurions

The Bulldogs stunned Leigh as they defeated them after a last minute penalty kick secured victory after being down 22-12 with 13 minutes left in the game. It was the first game for Leigh coach Neil Jukes after the massive shock of Paul Rowley unexpected departutre from the club only 10 days before the season and he handed debuts to four of the Centurions off-season signings including former man of steel Rangi chase who slotted in at full back. Harrison Hansen, Dayne Weston & Reni Maitua were the other debutants for last years league leaders. While there was debuts for Batley’s Dave Scott, Dom Brambani, James Davey and Pat Walker.

Leigh played down the slope in the first half and with the names and playmakers in their side the Bulldogs must have worried but the opening 20 minutes seen the home side’s defence on top but it was finally broken after build up play from Ryan Brierley allowed Andrew Dixon to cross after Batley conceded back to back penalties which piggybacked the visitors up the field. Batley didnt let them going behind get to them and they responded in the 28th minute through substitute James Brown as he powered his way over from close range to level the scores at 6 all.

Each side scored a try a piece in the final 10 minutes of the half, Leigh scoring first as Tom Armstrong crossed and Chris Ulugia responded in the final seconds of the first half to leave the half time scored at 12 all.

Leigh came out in the second half determined to try and blow their opponents out of the water and where led on this change by new club captain veteran hooker Mickey Higham. He crossed himself to re-take the lead for his side and diving over from dummy half in the 50th minute and then his break and pass set up Ryan Brierley in what was the outstanding try of the match. A 10 point gap with 12 minutes left you felt that Leigh wouldn’t give that lead up. Batley had other ideas. A Dominic Brambani 40/20 allowed the home side to put pressure on their full time opponents.

Chris Ulguia crossed for his second try of the game to bring the home side back within six points and he continued to help them back in the game as he found a gap which allowed him to find a pass to Shaun Ainscough as he crossed to bring Batley back to within two points. Pat Walker slotted over the extras and with two minutes to go it was 22 all.

Batley were now in command and were looking for the victory, Brambani sent a high bomb up which tested make shift full back Rangi Chase. He missed the ball and then to add insult to injury tripped Tom Lillycrop when Chase was penalized for the trip it allowed Pat Walker to go for goal. He kicked the penalty to secure a very unlikely victory for the home side.

Batley travel to Featherstone as Leigh will look for their first victory of the season as they welcome Oldham to the Leigh Sports Village.

 

 

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