Leigh 16 – 30 Batley

Leigh Centurions signed off for the final time at LSV this season with a disappointing defeat against the Bulldogs.

Meanwhile Featherstone Rovers confirmed their right to stage the Betfred Championship Shield Final at the LD Nutrition Stadium after their win at Swinton Lions.

Rovers have a four-point advantage over the Centurions heading into next week’s final round of Shield games when Rovers are at home to Barrow Raiders while the Centurions travel to Dewsbury Rams.

The game was overshadowed by a neck injury to halfback Ben Reynolds, who was stretchered off in a neck brace 14 minutes into the second half and taken to hospital in an ambulance.

Leigh Centurions head coach Kieron Purtill said immediately after the game: “Ben went off with a neck injury. The medical team are waiting for an ambulance to take him to hospital and get some x-rays and check he’s ok. We’ll keep our fingers crossed he makes a quick recovery. The medical team are really good and as a sport Rugby League is very good at dealing with head and neck injuries.”

Turning to the game Purtill said: “The result was disappointing. I think it’s pretty obvious for anyone watching that our tanks are empty. It’s been a tough season, we’ve been in a lot of big games and lost a lot of players. Mentally more than anything the group is at rock bottom at the moment. They’re finding it very difficult to motivate themselves and that came across in the performance. It’s a group that’s had a long year and is waiting for the season to end so we can re-group and see where we are going.

“We’ve got two games left and we either roll over and let the games go over the top of us or we come in on Tuesday and have a good decision and have a good attitude in training. The application needs to be good because, at the moment, how we play is a reflection of how we’ve trained.

“We have the Shield Final in a fortnight. It’s a tough game and we’ll have to be at our best. We should get a couple of bodies back for next week and the week after and hopefully we go there and give a good account of ourselves. We’ve had a tough year as a group and as a club it’s been tough and we want to finish on a high.

“Our fans have been fantastic all year, supporting us and we want to give them something to cheer. They turn up every week and back the boys. We have a big club here and everyone needs to get behind it and get through this tough period and come out the other side. The spectators and the sponsors have been brilliant for us.”

Purtill welcomed back Jamie Acton after suspension in a line-up that included local players Mitch Cox, Sam Peet and Brad Whelan. He added: “We named a 17 and then lost Nick Gregson this morning. We have three guys we pulled in from the amateurs in there and we’re doing it tough. I’m not going to throw any excuses up. I’m looking for the players who are the senior professionals to step up their games around those guys. It’s always good to see young Leigh lads getting game time and hopefully in the future we’ll have a few more as well.

“It’s tough. Every day you’re dealing with people’s emotions and there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that people are not really aware of. I’ve got to deal with that with every individual player and I’ve got to deal with it myself as I’m also going through it. Every day has been tough and I think we have some hard times to come through as a club. But the club will get through it and come back bigger and stronger and hopefully it will produce another strong Leigh Centurions club.”

Though Batley held an early 8-0 lead through tries by Lewis Galbraith and Jonny Campbell Leigh fought back to score tries by Ricky Bailey and Jack Owens and a Reynolds conversion separated the teams at half-time.

Scott levelled matters with a penalty before Reynolds finished off a flowing move involving Drew Hutchison and Jack Owens to give his side a 16-10 advantage.

Batley stormed back with tries by Scott and Campbell and another Scott penalty stretched the visitors’ lead to eight points. French halfback Louis Jouffret then sealed the Bulldogs’ win with a fine individual try.

With season tickets not eligible for the game, the ‘all pay’ attendance of 1,730 was easily the lowest of the season at LSV.

Leigh Centurions: Jack Owens; Ricky Bailey, Sam Peet, Matty Dawson-Jones, Ilias Bergal; Ben Reynolds, Drew Hutchison; Ryan Bailey, Micky Higham (captain), Jamie Acton, Kevin Larroyer, Mitch Cox, Jordan Walne.

Interchange: Josh Johnson, Jack Blagbrough, Jordan Dezaria, Brad Whelan.

Tries: Ricky Bailey (26), Owens (33), Reynolds (45).
Goals: Reynolds 2/ 3.
Sin bins: Johnson (63), Ryan Bailey (73).

Batley Bulldogs: Dave Scott; Wayne Reittie, Sam Smeaton, Lewis Galbraith, Jonny Campbell; Louis Jouffret, Dom Brambani; Adam Gledhill, Alistair Leak, James Harrison, Brad Day, Alex Bretherton, James Brown.

Interchange: James Davey, Alex Rowe, Keenen Tomlinson, Michael Ward.

Tries: Galbraith (6), Campbell (15, 49), Scott (48), Jouffret (68).
Goals: Scott 5/ 8.
Sin bin: Galbraith (73).

Referee: Billy Pearson
Attendance: 1,730.
Half-time: 10-8.
Penalty count: 6-12.

Leigh Centurions Man of the Match: Kevin Larroyer.
Main Match Sponsor: Impact Insurance.
Associate Sponsor: EDP.
Match Ball Sponsor: Struktura Engineering Services Ltd.

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