Leigh 22 – 10 Salford

Leigh Centurions extended their winning run to ten games and moved into the last eight of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup, where they have been drawn to face Leeds Rhinos away, after claiming the scalp of Super League Salford in front of the Sky Sports cameras at LSV.

Despite trailing 10-0 inside the opening 12 minutes the Centurions refused to panic and gradually secured a foothold on a pulsating cup-tie.

Quick-fire tries by Ben Reynolds and outstanding captain Harrison Hansen, both converted by Reynolds, saw Leigh hit the front after the first quarter.

Daniel Mortimer fought his way over from dummy half nine minutes after the re-start to open up an eight point lead and Drew Hutchison crashed over three minutes from time to seal a well-earned victory and a place in Sunday’s quarter-final draw.

Niall Evalds and George Griffin had scored the Red Devils’ tries but some superb Leigh defence prevented any further scores in a hard fought game marked by some ferocious tackling from both sides.

Leigh Centurions caretaker coach Kieron Purtill said: “We were fantastic tonight. We’ve had ten good weeks and tonight was a real good effort. Next week we get back to our league campaign and hopefully we can keep our good run going.

“It wasn’t the best start but after that we controlled the ball, worked hard and defensively were solid. Our boys are confident and a lot of our guys have a point to prove because the start to our season wasn’t the best. We’ve got some momentum now but we’ve not won anything and are nowhere near where we want to be. There is plenty of hard work to come over the next few months but we will keep enjoying our company and keep enjoying our wins.”

Hansen led from the front as captain and capped his fine display with another try, his seventh of the season and the sponsors’ Man of the Match award.

“H was great tonight but there were a lot of very good performances in a great team effort,” Purtill added. “Peter Matautia, Jordan Thompson and Ryan Bailey, given his first start were all very good and laid the platform for us.

“We’ll put the cup to one side now, give the boys the weekend off and then come back fresh and prepare for Featherstone.”

Liam Hood and Nathan Mason pulled out the tie before kick-off with illness leaving the Centurions depleted but Mortimer returned to the squad after a 10-week injury lay-off.

“Daniel was very good,” Purtill said. “He’s been very professional in his rehab and done everything asked of him and he did a real long stint tonight and did a great job.”

 Leigh Centurions: Peter Matautia; Matty Dawson-Jones, Ben Crooks, Craig Hall, Jack Owens; Ben Reynolds, Drew Hutchison; Ryan Bailey, Micky Higham, Jamie Acton, Harrison Hansen, Bodene Thompson, Jordan Thompson. Interchange: Daniel Mortimer, Kevin Larroyer, Greg Richards, Jordan Dezaria.

Tries: Reynolds (16), Hansen (20), Mortimer (49), Hutchison (77);
Goals: Reynolds 3/ 4.

Salford Red Devils: Niall Evalds; Derrell Olpherts, Kris Welham, Junior Sa’u, Greg Johnson; Jake Shorrocks, Jack Littlejohn; Petero Nakubuwai, Logan Tomkins, Lee Mossop, Weller Hauraki, George Griffin, Mark Flanagan. Interchange: Josh Wood, Lama Tasi, Tyrone McCarthy, Craig Kopczak.

Tries: Evalds (2), Griffin (12);
Goals: Shorrocks 1/ 2.

Referee: Liam Moore;
Attendance: 4,024;
Half-time: 12-10;
Penalty count: 8-7;

Main Match Sponsor: PalletMaster UK;
Associate Sponsor: JR’s Taxis;
Match Ball Sponsor: Premier Health Team, GP Surgery, Leigh;
Programme Sponsor: WJ Structures.
Leigh Centurions Man of the Match: Harrison Hansen.

Photos courtesy of SW Pix

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