Dewsbury 52 – 6 Leigh

Dewsbury Rams completed their season with a nine-try victory over a depleted, 13-man Leigh Centurions side at Tetley’s Stadium.

For the Centurions there’s one more game to go with the trip to Featherstone Rovers next Sunday for the Betfred Championship Shield Final.

Head coach Kieron Purtill will reassess his options for that game after injuries reduced his team to the bare bones.

Injuries ruled out Matty Dawson-Jones, Rhys Evans, Ben Reynolds, Liam Hood, Nathan Mason, Greg Richards, Jonah Cunningham, Ilias Bergal and Adam Walne while Mitch Cox was unavailable through work commitments, Sam Peet has left for a pre-arranged trip to Australia and Jordan Dezaria failed to turn up.

As a result Leigh were unable to field a full 17 as 12 of the 25-man squad were unavailable for selection and went into the game with just 13 players, finishing with eleven.

Fullback Will Dagger was forced off with a shoulder injury after 23 minutes and skipper Micky Higham struggled through the pain barrier with a groin injury before leaving the field six minutes from time.

It was the fourth time in the club’s history they had failed to play a full complement. In February 1896 Leigh played with 14 men (in the days of 15-a-side) at Broughton Rangers. In April 1908 Leigh played with 12 men at Merthyr Tydfil after one of the selected players missed his train and the war-time game against Liverpool Stanley in November 1940 was played 12-a-side after both sides agreed.

Kieron Purtill said: “We had 13 players today and unfortunately lost Will Dagger after about 20 minutes through injury. I thought everyone from the start of the game, their effort and attitude was fantastic and it was real backs were against the wall.

“Micky Higham was struggling with an injury and stuck it out for most of the game and that’s what’s he’s all about. He bleeds Leigh Centurions. People like him want to play for this club and give 100 percent every time they go out.

“I’m really proud of each and every one of them out there today. It’s been a tough few weeks and before they all went out there I thanked them from the bottom of my heart for playing. We named a squad of 16 and lost a couple from that. We had 13 and that’s what we got.

“We will have to see what we’ve got this week. We’ve got another game, we’ve got to re-group, see what bodies we’ve got and turn up there and give a good account of ourselves. We want to get to the end of the year and not give in.

“The fans who turned up and followed us have been brilliant. It’s been a real tough year . It’s been a real learning curve for me and an experience and I’m thankful for being allowed to coach the club and I’m sure I’ll come out of it a far better coach that I went into it.

“Leigh Centurions is a big club and it’s just bubbling under the surface. It’s been through tough times before and come through it and I’m sure we can do the same again and come back even stronger.”

Dewsbury scored four first half tries and added five more in the second with veteran halfback Paul Sykes running the show. It gave former Leigh boss Neil Kelly a win in his final game before leaving the Rams coaching position at the end of the season.

Aaron Brown’s brace, followed by Sykes’ individual effort and a score from fullback Josh Gudzeck accounted for the Rams’ first half tries with Sykes adding four conversions and a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Hammered 6-1 in the first half penalty count, Leigh looked set for an even bigger defeat as Guzdek, James Glover and Adam Ryder added further tries within seven minutes of the re-start and then Rob Worrincy went over in the corner.

Trailing 46-0 after 52 minutes the visitors dug in playing up the slope and pulled back six points when Higham sent Jamie Acton charging over. To restrict the home side to just one more try was a big effort and Purtill’s side was down to eleven when Dan Igbinedion went over to bring up the half century with Sykes adding his eighth goal.

Dewsbury Rams: Josh Guzdek; Rob Worrincy, James Glover, Adam Ryder, Dale Morton; Paul Sykes, Brad Delaney; Kyle Trout, Robbie Ward, Jack Teanby, Michael Knowles, Lucas Walshaw, Aaron Brown. Interchange: Dom Speakman, Toby Everett, Dan Igbinedion, Tobias Richardson.

Tries: Brown (14, 20), Sykes (31), Guzdek (33, 41), Glover (44), Ryder (47), Worrincy (52), Igbinedion (75).
Goals: Sykes 8/ 10.

Leigh Centurions: Will Dagger; Brad Whelan, Kevin Larroyer, Nick Gregson, Ricky Bailey; Jack Owens, Drew Hutchison; Ryan Bailey, Micky Higham, Josh Johnson, Jordan Walne, Jack Blagbrough, Jamie Acton.

Try: Acton (65)
Goal: Owens 1/ 1.

Andy Sweet.
Attendance: 999.
Penalty count: 9-5.
Half-time: 26-0.

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