Leigh 8 – 14 Toronto

Leigh Centurions’ patched-up side put in a valiant effort before going down by just six points to the Betfred Championship leaders at LSV.

Luke Douglas’s try 16 minutes from time set up a tense finish as John Duffy’s men fought to the end in a tough and thrilling encounter in front of the Sky cameras.

The Centurions head coach reflected on what might have been. Duffy said: “The effort and commitment the boys put in against a champion team was fantastic.

“We will stick together, we are one heartbeat.

“We just lacked some execution in attack but that will come. It was a really tight game and we matched them every step of the way. The fans were just brilliant again.

“At the end of the day it’s a loss and there are a lot of things we can do better, particularly in attack, but we are making progress and the fans appreciate what we are trying to do.

“Luke Douglas was outstanding again, but you look across our team and everyone played really well and gave their all.

“James Bentley came in from Saints for Matty Costello and he was really strong, especially second half. Mitch Cox was excellent in his first game of the season and Dec O’Donnell came in for his debut and was another to really play his part.

“We are under no illusions that we face a really difficult task next week against York, who are a really good side and we will start again on Tuesday planning for that.”

In a forward-dominated game with defences on top Martyn Ridyard broke the deadlock with a penalty goal midway through the first half as Leigh unusually attacked the North Stand in the first half.

Ridyard was excellent at fullback as deputy for the injured Gregg McNally, allowing sponsors MOTM Josh Woods to partner Daniel Richardson at halfback.

Bentley came in for his Leigh debut to earn heritage number #1481 after Costello was withdrawn by Saints, partnering Cox in a fine right-wing combination while O’Donnell shared the hooking duties with skipper Micky Higham and Joe Cator, two other stand-outs.

Toronto edged 10-2 ahead at half-time after Blake Wallace escaped the clutches of the close-range Leigh defence to stretch over before Josh McCrone’s kick created a try in the corner for ex-Leigh winger Adam Higson.

After Richardson was sin binned for deliberate obstruction Toronto took advantage when another ex-Leigh player, Bodene Thompson got over on the left.

But Duffy’s side dominated the last quarter and after Douglas seized his own kick ahead after a ricochet to joyfully bag back-to-back tries for Ridyard to convert the game was in the balance until the end.

Leigh Centurions: Martyn Ridyard; Mitch Cox, James Bentley, Iain Thornley, Stefan Marsh; Josh Woods, Daniel Richardson; Jack Ashworth, Micky Higham (captain), Luke Douglas, Toby Adamson, Andy Thornley, Sam Brooks.
Interchange: Dec O’Donnell, Joe Cator, Luke Adamson, Tom Spencer.

Try: Douglas (64)
Goals: Ridyard 2/2

Toronto Wolfpack: Gareth O’Brien; Adam Higson, Chase Stanley, Ricky Leutele, Nick Rawsthorne; Joe Mellor, Blake Wallace; Ashton Sims, Josh McCrone, Gadwin Springer, Andrew Dixon, Bodene Thompson, Tom Olbison.
Interchange: Andy Ackers, Darcy Lussick, Anthony Mullally, Adam Sidlow.

Tries: Wallace (27), Higson (36), Thompson (55)
Goals: O’Brien 1/ 3

Referee: Tom Grant;
Attendance: 3,142
Half-time: 2-10
Penalty count: 8-6

Main Match Sponsor: Impact Insurance;
Match Ball Sponsor: Struktura Engineering Ltd;
Digital Programme Sponsor: Fitfield Ltd.

Leigh Centurions Man of the Match: Josh Woods

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