Swinton 10 – 40 Leigh

Leigh Centurions began their Easter programme with their third successive win in the Good Friday derby at Heywood Road.

Craig Hall, playing at stand-off, was the game’s most influential performer, scoring a brace of tries in quick succession just before half-time to send in his side with a 24-10 lead.

Hall and several of his team mates together with referee Greg Dolan were held up in traffic on the M62 on the way to the game but did not let their late arrival affect them.

He added six goals for a personal haul of 20 points as the visitors kept the Lions scoreless in the second half despite having an 8-2 penalty county against them during that period.

Caretaker coach Kieron Purtill said: “We came to do a job, which was to get two points and we’re happy with that. It was a little bit scratchy at times with the ball but defensively in that second half we were really good and we are working hard.

“We’ll take the win, that’s three on the bounce now and we’re happy with it.”

Swinton came back strongly after Liam Hood and Nathan Mason had each scored tries under the posts to set up a 12-0 lead.

George Tyson and Kyle Shelford each cut through the Leigh defence to reduce the deficit to two points before Hall took the game away from them.

“We spoke in the week about handling transitions and coping with a bit of adversity and the boys did that today,” Purtill added. “We reacted in a positive way to a negative against us.

“This time of year we have a lot of games in quick succession and a number of players got more game time than normal. That’s why you have a squad and we can now look forward to Monday’s game.

“Craig is a talented player and can drop in any position in that back line. He’s got good hands, a good running game, he can kick a ball and he did a really good job for us today.”

Tries by Bodene Thompson, Peter Matautia and a late Matty Dawson-Jones effort in the corner stretched Leigh’s lead in a scrappy second half to reward the large contingent of travelling fans on a sunny afternoon in Sale.

Leigh now face London Broncos on Easter Monday at LSV (3pm) in a crucial Betfred Championship game.

Swinton Lions: George Tyson; Elliott Caine, Rhodri Lloyd, Liam Forsyth, Marcus Webb; Chris Hankinson, Jack Hansen; Andy Bracek, Luke Waterworth, Andy Thornley, Macauley Davies, Matt Sarsfield, Will Hope. Interchange: Josh Barlow, Aaron Hall, Hayden Hansen, Kyle Shelford.

Tries: Tyson (28), Shelford (37);
Goals: Hankinson 1/ 2.

Leigh Centurions: Peter Mata’utia; Matty Dawson-Jones, Ben Crooks, Rhys Evans, Ricky Bailey; Craig Hall, Drew Hutchison; Paterika Vaivai, Liam Hood, Nathan Mason, Kyle Lovett, Bodene Thompson, Jordan Thompson. Interchange: Jonah Cunningham, Greg Richards, Jamie Acton, Nick Gregson.

Tries: Hood (15), Mason (22), Hall (39, 40), B Thompson (47), Matautia (50), Dawson-Jones (74);
Goals: Hall 6/7.

Referee: Greg Dolan;
Attendance: 1,345;
Half-time: 10-24;
Penalty count: 10-6.

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