Leigh 54 – 10 Swinton

Leigh Centurions ran in nine tries and played some sparkling attacking football to complete a seasonal hat-trick over the Lions.

Sponsors’ man of the match Kevin Larroyer and Greg Richards each scored two tries and it was a day to remember for debutants Sam Peet and Bradley Whelan.

Peet, a regular in the reserves side until it was disbanded and recently at Sedgley Park RU, played 71 minutes in his first game for eight months after shoulder problems and sliced over for a try late in the first half.

Whelan, a Leigh East youngster and product of the Tommy Sale Youth programme came on for the last eight minutes and marked his debut with a popularly acclaimed try in front of the North Stand where he normally stands to cheer on his favourites. That saw Leigh past the 50-mark for the seventh time this season.

Both players owed their try assists to the outstanding Drew Hutchison who produced arguably his best display in a Centurions jersey.

Hutchison linked well with Nick Gregson, pressed into service at stand-off and the former Wigan player, influential in his new role, was also a successful goal-kicker when Ben Reynolds spent time off the field with a head injury.

Reynolds, playing fullback, sustained a nasty gash after competing with George Tyson for Hutchison’s high kick but still managed to touch down before leaving the field for treatment before returning in the second half.

Leigh Centurions head coach Kieron Purtill was pleased with the team’s response after the disappointing defeat at Featherstone. He said: “It was miles apart from last week. We had a good response in training and the players worked really hard. Today everyone did their job and I thought they were outstanding.

“There were some great performances. Greg was outstanding, Adam Walne did 70 minutes straight and his brother Jordan jumped in at nine. Nick Gregson jumped in at six and with two local lads on debut both scoring tries it was absolutely fantastic to see.

“Brad Whelan came through our Category 3 academy and is the first to make his debut for the first team. For the long run of the club that’s the future.

“I thought the players were very professional in all that they did and they’ve really turned it around from the Featherstone game. They copped a fair bit of criticism from me after that but this week all they will receive is praise and it shows what happens when 17 blokes turn up and do their jobs.”

Leigh started brightly with Micky Higham and Hutchison combining to send Larroyer over on the left before Reynolds bravely collected that high kick and scored under the posts before being forced off alongside Tyson for running repairs. Gregson took over the goal-kicking role to land three conversions to Reynolds’ try and further ones by Jordan Walne and Peet, the latter taking full advantage of Hutchison’s classy assist.

The Lions enjoyed their best spell of the game with tries by Kyle Shelford and Andy Thornley in a three-minute spell but trailed 24-10 at the break.

Leigh turned to screw in a dominant second half display, running in 30 points without reply.

Hutchison scored the try his own performance deserved after thrilling inter-play with the returning Reynolds before creating the opening for Richards to show a great turn of pace in a 40-metre scoring run.

Hutchison provided another assist for Larroyer to cleverly evade two men and grab his brace before Higham and Adam Walne created the opening for Richards’ second.

Adam Walne went close after another Richards burst before Whelan was crowded out by the left corner flag. But with two minutes remaining Reynolds and Hutchison again combined superbly and the later unselfishly offloaded for Whelan to score his dream try.

Leigh Centurions: Ben Reynolds; Ricky Bailey, Rhys Evans, Matty Dawson-Jones, Ilias Bergal; Nick Gregson, Drew Hutchison; Greg Richards, Micky Higham, Adam Walne, Kevin Larroyer, Jack Blagbrough, Jordan Walne.
Josh Johnson, Sam Peet, Jordan Dezaria, Bradley Whelan.

Tries: Larroyer (5, 62), Reynolds (8), J Walne (10), Peet (33), Hutchison (47), Richards (59, 68), Whelan (78).
Goals: Reynolds 6/ 6, Gregson 3/ 3.

Swinton Lions: Jack Hansen; Mike Butt, Joe Brown, George Tyson, Ryan Grey; Rob Fairclough, Josh Woods; Andy Bracek, Luke Waterworth, Paul Wood, Kyle Shelford, Andy Thornley, Will Hope.
Interchange: Ben Austin, Josh Ganson, Hayden Hansen, Patrick Jones.

Tries: Shelford (14), Thornley (17);
Goals: Fairclough 1/ 2.

Sin bin: Fairclough (51) holding down;

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas;
Attendance: 2,757;
Penalty count: 4-7;
Half-time: 24-10;

Main Match Sponsor: Fitfield Ltd;
Associate Sponsor: Kukri;
Leigh Centurions Man of the Match: Kevin Larroyer.

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