Leigh 24 – 37 Widnes

Widnes Vikings deservedly claimed their first Betfred Super League win of the season on their first league visit to LSV.

Vikings halfbacks Danny Craven and Tom Gilmore were pivotal to their side’s success which ended the Centurions’ three-match winning run at LSV.

Incisive stand-off Craven bagged an impressive hat-trick while Gilmore marked his return from an injury lay-off with an influential display topped by 13 points from his boot.

The Vikings looked the far hungrier side from the off and built a 12-0 lead with tries by Chris Bridge and Craven.

Danny Tickle and Ben Crooks scored in an inspired five-minute spell to haul the Centurions back to parity, Ben Reynolds adding the conversions.

But Craven’s second converted try just before half-time sent the Vikings in with a six-point lead.

Sam Brooks scored the vital first try of the second half and Gilmore cleverly tagged on a drop-goal to add to his conversion to give the visitors a 13-point lead.

The Centurions again rallied as Crooks and Sam Hopkins crossed in front of the North Stand to reduce the arrears to a single point.

But Craven’s converted try 13 minutes from time effectively sealed the game and Charly Runciman capitalised on a late Crooks sin-binning to scythe over for the Vikings’ sixth try.

Mitch Brown, one of the top metre-makers in Super League this season, was the nominated Man of the Match by Main Match Sponsors Taylor Drilling Services Limited.

Leigh Centurions coach Neil Jukes said: “I have no complaints with the result. Too many people had an off day for us.

“We didn’t show enough desire and just looked like a team that didn’t want to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in.

“We got what we deserved today. Our home games are really important to us and we have made this place a bit of a fortress so to lose today was very disappointing.”

Widnes Vikings coach Denis Betts said: “To say it was a gutsy performance is an understatement.

“We had eleven probable starters sat in the stand and lost two players to concussion inside the first 20 minutes. For the last 20 minutes I had no subs left. It was a massive effort.

“There is a dogged determination within the group and we had our backs to the wall. We started the game really well and found some rhythm and Tom Gilmore gave us some great direction on his return from injury at half-back.

“You can’t underestimate how important this win is for us.”

Leigh Centurions: Ryan Hampshire; Adam Higson, Ben Crooks, Mitch Brown, Matty Dawson; Martyn Ridyard, Ben Reynolds; Jamie Acton, Micky Higham (Capt), Dayne Weston, Atelea Vea, Danny Tickle, Gareth Hock. Interchange: Liam Hood, Harrison Hansen, Sam Hopkins, James Green.

Tries: Tickle (26), Crooks (31, 52), Hopkins (62);
Goals:
Reynolds 4/4.

Widnes Vikings: Rhys Hanbury; Tom Armstrong, Chris Bridge, Charly Runciman, Stefan Marsh; Danny Craven, Tom Gilmore; James Chapelhow, Jordan Johnstone, Greg Burke, Tom Olbison, Matt Whitley, Chris Houston (Capt). Interchange: Danny Walker, Macgraff Leuluai, Manase Manuokafoa, Sam Brooks.

Tries: Bridge (3), Craven (13, 38, 67), Brooks (43), Runciman (80).
Goals:
Gilmore 6/7 plus one drop-goal.

Referee: Robert Hicks;
Attendance: 6,195;
Half-time: 12-18.

Leigh Centurions Match Sponsors:
Main Match Sponsor: Taylor Drilling Services Limited;
Associate Sponsors: IMG SEAT Warrington and Profile Patterns;
Match Ball Sponsor: Struktura Engineering Services;
Programme Sponsor: Seafresh Quality Foods.
Leigh Centurions Man of the Match: Mitch Brown.

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