Halifax 33 – 26 Leigh

Leigh Centurions suffered defeat for the first time this season in the Betfred Championship after a thrilling and incident-packed game at The Shay.

Leigh led 12-6 after 12 minutes and trailed 18-14 at the break. They then saw an Andy Thornley try disallowed with Halifax going to the other end to score two quick-fire tries by winger Shaun Robinson in the left corner that turned the game their way.

Ed Barber added a clincher and Ben White a drop-goal which sustained the home side against a stirring late Leigh comeback roared on by a near thousand strong travelling support.

 Leigh lost Jonny Pownall to a red card for dissent after he had initially been sin-binned alongside Brandon Moore with 13 minutes remaining.

Centurions head coach John Duffy said: “I’m bitterly disappointed, especially after our start. My first comment in the week was how good a team Halifax are in this competition and we’d not to take anything lightly. In the first 10-15 minutes we were getting lots of joy and we decided to take our foot off the gas and think it was going to be an easy day and we got burned.

“There was an element of us maybe falling in love with ourselves after the win we got last week and across the board we’ve got to learn from this experience. Our mentality was poor when we went behind and over the full game Halifax played well and got a good result there.

“After the decision with Andy Thornley’s no-try we got burned through the middle and they got their tries on the wings. It’s going to be a tough week for us. We’ve got to pick ourselves up and work hard.

 “I’m not saying Andy touched the ball down, but our player was pulled back in the incident and I expected at least a penalty. I wouldn’t say that changed the game because Halifax deserved the win but it swung the momentum.

“Luke Douglas was outstanding again, real good, real tough. But we can’t allow ourselves to get above ourselves because we’ve had a win. That’s what happened today. Halifax are a real classy outfit and you can’t have a minute off against any team in the Championship otherwise you will get punished.”

 Moore opened the scoring for ‘Fax after the Leigh defence failed to deal with Scott Murrell’s high kick but were soon in the lead with tries by Andy Thornley and Pownall. Murrell’s cross-kick created an equalising try for ‘Fax man of the match Steve Tyrer before a Ridyard penalty saw the visitors edge ahead. Ben White’s try, converted by Tyrer, saw Halifax 18-14 ahead at the interval.

After Andy Thornley’s disallowed try that quick brace by Robinson and a further Barber score saw ‘Fax take the game away from the visitors with a devastating six-minute spell in which they dominated.

 But Leigh showed great fighting spirit to narrow the gap with a try apiece from the Adamson brothers, Luke and Toby leaving ‘fax grateful for White’s drop-goal in a tense finish.

Halifax: Quentin Laulu-Togagae; Will Sharp, James Saltonstall, Steve Tyrer, Shaun Robinson; Scott Murrell (capt), Ben White; Dan Fleming, Brandon Moore, Ben Kavanagh, Kevin Larroyer, Ed Barber, Simon Grix.
Interchange: Elliot Morris, Jacob Fairbank, Reece Chapman-Smith, Will Calcott.

Tries: Moore (4), Tyrer (19), White (29), Robinson (55, 57), Barber (63);
Goals: Tyrer 4/ 6;
Drop-goal: White (75).
Sin bin: Moore (67).

Leigh Centurions: Gregg McNally; Jonny Pownall, Matt Costello, Iain Thornley, Stefan Marsh; Martyn Ridyard, Josh Woods; Luke Douglas, Micky Higham (capt), Sam Brooks, Toby Adamson, Andy Thornley, Luke Adamson.
Interchange: Tom Spencer, Joe Cator, Aaron Smith, Jack Ashworth.

Tries: A Thornley (9), Pownall (12), L Adamson (69), T Adamson (79);
Goals: Ridyard 5/ 6.
Sin bin and sent off: Pownall (67).

Referee; Gareth Hewer;
Attendance: 2,245;
Penalty count: 9-12;
Half-time: 18-14.

Photo credit: OnionBag Photography

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