Castleford Tigers 44 Leigh Centurions 16
Leigh Centurions ran into a red hot and ruthless Tigers side on their return to the Betfred Super League after a 12-year absence.
Luke Gale was their chief tormenter with a 24-point haul as the Tigers showed why many good judges regard them as dark horses for the title in 2017.
Gale scored two tries and kicked eight goals from as many attempts with winger Greg Minikin also bagging a brace.
The Centurions gave as good as they got in the opening quarter but Classy Cas turned up the gas with four tries in an inspired 17-minute spell before half-time as they built a 26-0 lead.
Gale and second rower Jesse Sene-Lefao did the damage before Minikin twice went over and with Gale kicking superbly Daryl Powell’s side looked very impressive.
Junior Moors stretched over for his side’s fifth try just 96 seconds after the interval but the Centurions recovered their pride with a strong second half show and only lost the second half by two points.
Ryan Hampshire crashed over for the Centurions’ first try back in the top flight to give some reward to the 1,500 Leigh fans packed in at the railway end.
Though Gale and Greg Eden scored further tries for the Tigers, Leigh finished strongly.
Winger Matty Dawson dived over in the left corner before Danny Tickle crashed over for the 100th of his career, with Martyn Ridyard adding both conversions.
Castleford Tigers: Zak Hardaker; Greg Minikin, Jake Webster, Michael Shenton, Greg Eden; Rangi Chase, Luke Gale (c ); Andy Lynch, Paul McShane, Gadwin Springer, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Mike McMeekin, Nathan Massey. Interchange: Grant Millington, Junior Moors, Matt Cook, Ben Roberts.
Tries: Gale (21, 58), Mikikin (30, 38), Sene-Lefao (24), Moors (42), Eden (61).
Goals: Gale 8/8
Leigh Centurions: Ryan Hampshire; Adam Higson, Ben Crooks, Mitch Brown, Matty Dawson; Martyn Ridyard, Josh Drinkwater; Gareth Hock, Liam Hood, Danny Tickle, Cory Paterson, Glenn Stewart, Harrison Hansen (c ). Interchange: Eloi Pelissier, Atelea Vea, James Green, Dayne Weston.
Tries: Hampshire (47), Dawson (70), Tickle (76).
Goals: Ridyard 2/ 3.
Referee: Robert Hicks;