Hull FC 22 – 26 Leigh

Leigh Centurions pulled off their first top-flight away win for 23 years as they ended their nine-match losing streak at the KCOM Stadium.

You have to go back to March 1994 and a 24-14 win at Bradford in the old first division for the last time Leigh tasted victory in the elite league.

Matty Dawson and Atelea Vea each scored two tries with Ben Reynolds adding a try and three goals to highlight an outstanding team performance.

Head Coach Neil Jukes saw his squad reduced to the bare bones after Ben Crooks and Ryan Hampshire were late withdrawals due to injury and illness respectively but was delighted after Leigh’s first away Super League win in 21 attempts.

Neil Jukes said: “I’m really pleased- for the fans who travelled on a Bank Holiday and braved the M62 traffic and the players and backroom staff. We all worked so hard to get into Super League and earned our chance to rub shoulders with the big boys and we’re not here to make up the numbers.

“Right from the top from Derek Beaumont down we have stuck together as a group and the players and staff have worked harder than ever. We’re not a million miles off- we weren’t far off against Salford but for a moment of madness with the red card and a try that just took it away from us .

“In lots of games we have had a mad 15-17 minute spell that has damaged us as a team and if we can get rid of those spells and cut them out of our game and become more consistent we have a chance against anybody.”

Dawson scored two early tries as stand-out hooker Liam Hood and on loan Matty Fleming twice cleverly worked the blindside and Vea pounced on a Josh Drinkwater kick as Leigh took a 14-10 lead into the interval. The home side, who would have gone third in the Betfred Super League with a win, replied with tries by Jamie Shaul and Carlos Tuimavave with halfback Albert Kelly a constant threat.

Drinkwater’s clever bouncing kick fell perfectly for Reynolds to score five minutes after the re-start but Shaul pulled his side back to within four points after an incisive Kelly break.

Vea was on hand to finish another testing Drinkwater kick to score in the corner, Reynolds adding his third goal with a superb angled conversion to again establish a ten-point advantage.

The Centurions had to weather a storm in a nervous last quarter, Reynolds chasing back to pull off a superb cover tackle on Kelly and Dawson getting under Josh Griffin to prevent him grounding the ball in the next play to both epitomise their side’s resolve.

Kelly did cut through with five minutes left but the Centurions survived to achieve their first win at Hull FC since 1993, having conceded a total of 146pts in their previous two league visits in 1994 and 2005.

“It is a tough place to come and I’m really proud to achieve our first away Super League win,” Jukes added. “It was real nice for the fans- like us they’ve been through it as they’ve not had the success they’ve been used to. It’s a journey and one we are relishing, rubbing shoulders with the big boys and playing at fantastic venues like this against some world class players.

“It was important to put in a solid 80 minutes and to get our reward for it and we can go home with a smile on our faces. It doesn’t get easier, Cas at home on Monday then Leeds away and Wigan at home, but we can only control what we do and we showed tonight for big periods that we are a tough team to play against.”

Hull FC: Jamie Shaul; Steve Michaels, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Griffin,Nick Rawsthorne; Albert Kelly, Marc Sneyd; Josh Bowden, Danny Houghton (capt), Liam Watts, Sika Manu, Mark Minichiello, Chris Green. Interchange: Danny Washbrook, Jansin Turgut, Jack Downs, Brad Fash

Tries: Shaul (20, 49), Tuimavave (39), Kelly (75)
Goals: Sneyd 3/4

Leigh Centurions: Gregg McNally; Matty Dawson, Matty Fleming, Cory Paterson, Mitch Brown; Ben Reynolds, Josh Drinkwater; Dayne Weston, Liam Hood, Jamie Acton, Atelea Vea, Harrison Hansen (capt), Glenn Stewart. Interchange: Eloi Pelissier, Danny Tickle, Sam Hopkins, Lachlan Burr

Tries: Dawson (7, 24), Vea (36, 54), Reynolds (45)
Goals: Reynolds 3/5

Half-time: 10-14;
Attendance: 10,222
Referee: Ben Thaler.

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