St Helens 24 – 20 Leigh

Leigh Centurions completed their pre season preparations with another impressive performance against a top Betfred Super League side just five days after a full blooded encounter against Wigan.

Recovering from a slow start, when they conceded two tries in the opening 15 minutes, Neil Jukes’s side ran in four tries in an inspired 20-minute spell either side of the interval and held a 20-12 lead early in the second half.

Liam Hood, Kevin Larroyer, Jack Owens and Craig Hall all crossed for tries with Saints fullback Ben Barba scoring twice to add to Jonny Lomax’s opener in reply.

Saints dominated possession in the closing stages, restricting Leigh’s field position and second half tries by Danny Richardson and Zeb Taia earned the home side the spoils after an entertaining game in which both coaches rang the changes after the break.

Bodene Thompson and Nathan Mason both got their first run outs in Centurions colours after missing the Wigan game through niggling injuries.

Head coach Neil Jukes now faces some tough selection decisions ahead of next Sunday’s Betfred Championship opener against Toronto Wolfpack at LSV (3pm).

PNG star Kurt Baptiste arrived on Wednesday to take the squad up to 27 and has already joined in training sessions with his new team-mates.

St Helens: 23 Ben Barba; 2 Tommy Makinson, 3 Ryan Morgan, 4 Mark Percival, 19 Regan Grace; 1 Jonny Lomax, 7 Matty Smith; 10 Kyle Amor, 9 James Roby, 16 Luke Thompson, 11 Zeb Taia, 17 Dominique Peyroux, 12 Jon Wilkin. Interchange: 5 Adam Swift, 6 Theo Fages, 8 Alex Walmsley, 13 Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 15 Morgan Knowles, 18 Danny Richardson, 20 Matty Lees, 21 Jack Ashworth, 22 Jake Spedding, 24 James Bentley, 30 Matty Costello.

Tries: Lomax (3), Barba (15,33), Richardson (53), Taia (63);
Goals: Percival 0/2, Smith 0/1, Richardson 2/2.

Leigh Centurions: 1 Craig Hall; 2 Matty Dawson, 3 Ben Crooks, 4 Peter Mata’utia, 19 Jack Owens; 6 Ben Reynolds, 7 Drew Hutchison; 13 Harrison Hansen, 9 Daniel Mortimer, 10 Jamie Acton, 11 Kevin Larroyer, 12 Bodene Thompson, 15 Jordan Thompson. Interchange: 14 Liam Hood, 16 Larne Patrick, 17 Kyle Lovett, 18 Nathan Mason, 20 Greg Richards, 21 Nick Gregson, 23 Jonah Cunningham, 24 Jack Blagbrough, 25 Ilias Bergal, 26 Jordan Dezaria.

Tries: Hood (23), Larroyer (31), Owens (38), Hall (42);
Goals: Reynolds 1/ 3, Hall 1/1.

Half-time: 12-14;
Attendance: 3,298;
Penalty count: 7-6;
Referee: Phil Bentham.

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