Leigh 31 – 18 London

Leigh Centurions completed a successful Easter programme with a fine team performance to keep their hopes of a top four finish alive.

Outstanding individual performances by Man of the Match Peter Matautia, Liam Hood and Jordan Thompson spearheaded the Centurions’ strong second half display after a tight and cagey first half ended all square at six apiece.

Jordan Thompson got the North Stand singing in full voice by powering over under the posts to spark the second half action and when captain Harrison Hansen followed suit the Centurions had opened up a 12-point lead.

The impressive James Cunningham pulled back a try for the Broncos to finish off a flowing move but Kieron Purtill’s side was not to be denied as they completed their fourth straight win.

Liam Hood fought his way over in a massed tackle on the last play for his second try of the game and Drew Hutchison went over on a last tackle short side play to put Leigh firmly in command.

Ben Reynolds, whose kicking game was excellent in the conditions, tagged on five conversions and a late drop-goal before Matt Gee grabbed a last minute consolation for the Broncos.

Leigh never trailed in a fiercely fought game played in cold and driving rain, Hood breaking a tense deadlock after 25 minutes after Ben Crooks leapt high to collect Reynolds’ high kick. London replied with an Elliott Kear try in the corner to tie the scores at the interval.

Leigh Centurions caretaker coach Kieron Purtill said: “Today I thought we were fantastic. Defensively we were really good and in the conditions we played a little bit too and I thought we got what we deserved out of the game today.

“I thought we were dominant throughout the game. We knew London were dangerous and they kept coming back at us, but our effort and endeavour was brilliant.

“The energy we had and what we brought to the game made you forget we played on Friday. Our forwards were fantastic today and some guys in there did really big minutes.

“Jordan Thompson was brilliant and Liam Hood, Jamie Acton, Nathan Mason, Micky Higham and many more, they were all good. We are growing into it and coming together as a team. We are turning up for one another and you can’t ask any more than that.

“But four wins in a row isn’t good enough to get us where we want to be as a club. We want to carry on winning and keep pushing ourselves towards the top four and get the club back where it belongs.

“The fans have been fantastic and have responded to the players’ efforts. Morale is building within the players and with the fans as well and hopefully we can all stay together and get the results we all need.”

Leigh lost prop Paterika Vaivai in the first minute and was carried off. “The news doesn’t look too good at the moment,” Purtill added. “But we do the necessary medical checks and do what’s needed.”

Leigh Centurions: Peter Matautia; Matty Dawson-Jones, Ben Crooks, Craig Hall, Rhys Evans; Ben Reynolds, Drew Hutchison; Paterika Vaivai, Micky Higham, Nathan Mason, Harrison Hansen, Bodene Thompson, Jordan Thompson. Interchange: Liam Hood, Jordan Dezaeria, Jamie Acton, Kyle Lovett.

Tries:
Hood (25, 64), J Thompson (42), Hansen (52), Hutchison (72);
Goals: Reynolds 5/ 5; Hall 0/ 1;
Drop-goal: Reynolds.

London Broncos: Alex Walker; Elliott Kear, Will Lovell, Ben Hellewell, Rhys Williams; James Meadows, Jarrod Sammut; Tom Spencer, James Cunningham, , Mark Ioane, Matty Gee, Jay Pitts, Matt Davis. Interchange: Sam Davis, Eddie Battye, Robert Butler, Lewis Bienek.

Tries:
Kear (35), Cunningham (56), Gee (80);
Goals: Sammut 3/ 3.

Referee: John McMullen;
Attendance: 3,328;
Half-time: 6-6.
Penalty count: 7-7.

Leigh Centurions Man of the Match: Peter Matautia;
Mascot: Riven Anderson;
Main Match Sponsor: Haydock Park Racecourse;
Associate Sponsor: The Holcroft Friends & Family;
Match Ball Sponsor: The First & Last;
Programme Sponsor: Hilltop Products.

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