Leigh 34 – 6 Batley

Leigh Centurions opened their account for the season with a six-try victory at a wintry Leigh Sports Village.

Neil Jukes’ side ran in three tries in each half to see off the challenge of the determined Bulldogs with Drew Hutchison claiming the sponsors’ Man of the Match Award.

Hutchison linked well with Ben Reynolds at halfback and the pair were at the heart of some fluent Centurions moves with Bodene Thompson and Jordan Thompson impressing in the pack.

Head Coach Neil Jukes said: “We were never going to at our best at game one or game two and people forget how much change we’ve had over the off season. It was really important individually and collectively that we improved some things and I thought we took the emotion out of it and played with a lot more common sense.

“If I was being critical we could have been more ruthless and got a lot more points than we did but I thought defensively we stood up to it and we asked a lot more questions in attack.

“In a few more weeks when the conditions are better, we will hopefully run in some more points. Our half backs got a good combination going and our kicking game was much improved.

“It wasn’t a polished performance but it was a big improvement on our last match.”

Ben Crooks cut through for two first half tries, the first finishing a classic team move that began with Jack Owens near his own line while Nathan Mason also powered over by the posts.

Kevin Larroyer grabbed a try on debut with further tries from Matty Dawson-Jones and Jamie Acton, Alex Rowe scoring Batley’s sole try from close range just before half-time.

Larroyer, Ilias Bergal and Kurt Baptiste all earned their heritage numbers but Leigh will await a check on Baptiste’s shoulder injury.

Leigh Centurions go to Barrow next Sunday for Round 3 of the Betfred Championship season before back-to-back home games against Toulouse Olympique and Featherstone Rovers.

Leigh Centurions: Jack Owens; Matty Dawson-Jones, Ben Crooks, Peter Mata’utia, Ilias Bergal; Ben Reynolds, Drew Hutchison; Paterika Vaivai, Liam Hood, Nathan Mason, Kevin Larroyer, Bodene Thompson, Jordan Thompson. Interchange: Kurt Baptiste, Jamie Acton, Harrison Hansen, Larne Patrick.

Tries: Crooks (6, 30), Mason (20), Larroyer (49), Dawson-Jones (54), Acton (65);

Goals: Reynolds 5/ 6.

Batley Bulldogs: Dave Scott; Wayne Reittie, Jason Crookes, Lewis Galbraith, Shaun Ainscough; Pat Walker, Dominic Brambani; Adam Gledhill, Alistair Leak, Alex Rowe, Dane Manning, James Harrison, James Brown. Interchange: James Davey, Bradley Day, Tommy Holland, Michael Ward.

Try: Rowe (40)

Goal; Walker 1/ 1

Referee: Greg Dolan;
Attendance: 3,216
Half-time: 18-6;
Penalty count: 10-8.

Main Match Sponsor: 24/7 Technology;
Associate Sponsors: Struktura Engineering Services and WJD Ltd, Specialist Flooring Contractors;
Match Ball Sponsor: DMR Training Consultancy Ltd;
Programme Sponsor: Zaun Group.

Leigh Centurions Man of the Match:
Drew Hutchison.

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