Batley 4 – 8 Leigh

Leigh Centurions made progress in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup with a hard earned win at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium to end a losing streak of four successive games.

Attitude, defence and team spirit were keys to victory in gruelling conditions to give caretaker coach Kieron Purtill his first win since taking the role.

Purtill rang the changes, bringing in Ricky Bailey, Jordan Dezaria and Nick Gregson for their Centurions debuts and the trio played big parts in a key win that Purtill hopes will provide a springboard for the season after a bitterly disappointing start.

Bailey, on a season’s loan from St Helens made his first start on the wing and capped a lively display with the game’s only try just after the midway point of an attritional first half, finishing off a move in the corner after Leigh had forced a repeat set

Jack Owens tagged on the conversion and a penalty goal midway through the second half after Pat Walker had given the Bulldogs the lead with two early penalty gaols.

The visitors had plenty of possession and territory playing down the slope in the first half and twice had players held up over the Batley line, but they had to withstand some anxious moments late in the game as Batley fought strongly to the end.

Leigh have maintained their 100pc record in the Challenge Cup in five meetings against Batley dating back to the late 1890s.

Purtill said: “That was a tough, old fashioned win, First of all congratulations to Batley for getting the game on and then to the 34 players for turning up and putting on a spectacle in really tough, freezing conditions.

“We knew it would be hard and it was all about getting the attitude right and turning up for one another. Defensively we were much improved and we controlled the ball a lot better.

“The three guys who came in for their debuts gave us impetus and played really well.

“We’ve got a week now where we can look back and say we’ve done some really good things from the game and we can come together and prepare for the visit of Dewsbury next Sunday.”

Batley chairman Kevin Nicholas and Leigh director Jason Huyton and his wife Adele and daughter Amy, whose company Palatine Paints sponsored the game, were among the small army of volunteers who worked from early morning to clear the pitch of snow and ensured the surrounding areas were safe.

After Arctic conditions gripped West Yorkshire in the 24 hours leading up the game it was a huge effort by the Batley club to get the game on and a fantastic example of a community club where everyone works together.

The Leigh Centurions fans who braved the M62 certainly appreciated their efforts and club owner Derek Beaumont publicly acknowledged the home side’s wonderful efforts in the post match speeches.

Ricky Bailey earned Heritage Number #1450 with Nick Gregson claiming #1451 and Jordan Dezaria #1452.

The draw for the fifth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup will be live on the BBC Sport website from 7pm on Tuesday.

Batley Bulldogs: Dave Scott; Wayne Reittie, Danny Cowling, Jason Crookes, Lewis Galbraith; Pat Walker, Dominic Brambani; Alex Rowe, James Davey, Michael Ward, James Harrison, Brad Day, Joe Chandler. Interchange: Tom Hemingway, James Brown, Keenen Tomlinson, Sam Smeaton.

Goals: Walker 2/ 2.

Leigh Centurions: Peter Matautia; Matty Dawson-Jones, Ben Crooks, Rhys Evans, Ricky Bailey; Jack Owens, Drew Hutchison; Paterika Vaivai, Liam Hood, Nathan Mason, Kyle Lovett, Bodene Thompson, Nick Gregson. Interchange: Micky Higham, Jordan Thompson, Jordan Dezaria, Harrison Higham.

Try: Bailey (62); Goals: Owens 2/2.

Referee: Tom Grant; Penalty count: 8-7; Half-time: 4-6.

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