Leigh 24 – 16 St Helens

Leigh Centurions’ first win over Saints for 23 years got their Betfred Super League campaign off the mark in stunning style.

Over 9,000 fans packed into LSV to witness Saints’ first visit to the Stadium and they witnessed a thrilling game- and Leigh’s first Super League win since 2005.

Leigh Centurions Head Coach Neil Jukes said: “I am very pleased for the lads. They have worked so hard and came so close last week. It was an incredible atmosphere and we got off to a great start.

“It is a great result for everyone involved in the club. Effort wise we were incredible and we have smartened a few things up on the last two games. We kept playing our way out of trouble and challenged Saints in defence.

“We are by no means the finished product but the players are learning and responding. We will analyse the things we did right and work on the things we did wrong and look to improve again when we face the World Champions, Wigan Warriors next week.”

Harrison Hansen was the Centurions’ Man of the Match chosen by Main Match Sponsors O2 Leigh from a clutch of candidates.

Jukes picked out Danny Tickle for an outstanding forward effort in a great team performance with James Green also impressing on his return to the side and Ben Reynolds another stand-out in a great team performance.

The Centurions made a stunning start with tries to ex-Saints forward Atelea Vea and Gareth Hock inside the opening ten minutes, both converted by Reynolds.

Jamie Acton sliced over for a third converted score before Adam Swift did brilliantly to squeeze in at the corner and reduce the arrears before the interval.

James Roby got Saints back to within eight points with a trademark converted try as his side dominated the second half penalty county and possession.

The 3,000 Saints fans sensed a comeback but their hopes were thwarted by Centurions captain Micky Higham.

Playing his first game of the season after recovering from a calf strain ex-Saints favourite Higham scored an outstanding individual try in front of the sold-out North Stand with just 12 minutes remaining of a compelling contest.

Higham showed stunning pace off the mark from dummy half to leave the Saints defence standing from 30 metres.

Alex Walmsley blasted over to set up a nervous finish but the Centurions held out to earn a famous victory despite losing Green to the sin bin for a high tackle.

Leigh Centurions: Mitch Brown; Adam Higson, Ben Crooks, Willie Tonga, Matty Dawson; Ben Reynolds, Josh Drinkwater; Gareth Hock, Micky Higham capt, James Green, Cory Paterson, Atelea Vea, Harrison Hansen. Interchange: Eloi Pelissier, Danny Tickle, Sam Hopkins, Jamie Acton.

Tries: Vea (5), Hock (10), Acton (28), Higham (68); Goals: Reynolds 4/5.

St Helens: Jonny Lomax; Tom Makinson, Ryan Morgan, Mark Percival, Adam Swift; Theo Fages, Danny Richardson; Kyle Amor capt, Tommy Lee, Luke Douglas, Louie McCarthy- Scarsbrook, Dominic Peyroux. Interchange: Jon Wilkin, James Roby, Luke Thompson, Morgan Knowles.

Tries: Swift (34), Roby (54), Walmsley (70); Goals: Percival 2/ 3.

Attendance: 9,012; Half-time: 18-14;
Referee: Ben Thaler.

Main Match Sponsor: O2 Leigh
Associate Sponsor: Chassis & Cab Specialists Limited
Match Ball Sponsor: Inspire Childrens’ Services
Programme Sponsor: AIL
Leigh Centurions Man of the Match: Harrison Hansen

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