York 9 – 8 Leigh

Leigh Centurions’ first visit to Bootham Crescent ended in agonising disappointment as they were edged out in a thrilling and hard-fought Betfred Championship encounter.

Connor Robinson’s drop-goal ten minutes from time eventually separated the sides after a pulsating game of only two tries played in the steady drizzle of a murky Yorkshire afternoon.

But how the visitors rued missed chances, especially in those tension-packed last ten minutes as Martyn Ridyard was off-target with a 30-metre penalty attempt and then failed with a drop-goal attempt. Daniel Richardson was then twice off cue with drop-goal efforts as the clock ticked down.

Both sides worked themselves to a standstill in a gripping game that always held the attention.

Newly promoted York have shown their resilience by often coming out on top in close encounters under coach James Ford and their supporters cheered this victory for several minutes after the final hooter sounded.

Leigh had to re-organise when Sam Brooks was injured in the warm-up, 18th man Nick Gregson coming in for his first game of the campaign.

And when Josh Woods limped off with a hamstring injury on the half-hour Ridyard switched to halfback with Jonny Pownall going to fullback and Mitch Cox on the wing.

York’s only try came after five minutes when Saints loanee Joe Batchelor, who played for Leigh in the warm up game against London on dual registration terms, sliced over on the left.

Robinson’s 16th minute penalty extended the lead but the visitors were back on level terms when Ridyard and Richardson combined for Andy Thornley to cut over on the right for Ridyard to convert.

That’s how it stayed until Robinson calmly potted a 40-metre penalty for a ball-reefing offence just before the hour-mark, only for Ridyard to level matters again in the 67th minute for a similar offence.

Robinson’s opportunism finally won the day for the Knights who have started life back in the Championship with four wins in their first five games.

No shortage of effort, but a lack of execution in attack for the visitors as the large travelling army of Leigh supporters wended their way home.

Given his first start of the campaign, Joe Cator was an 80minute workhorse in the Leigh pack to claim the visitors’ Man of the Match accolade.

York: Matty Marsh; Perry Whiteley, Jason Bass, Liam Salter, Judah Mazive; Ben Cockayne, Connor Robinson; Ronan Dixon, Kriss Brinning, Jack Blagbrough, Joe Batchelor, Josh Jordan-Roberts, Graeme Horne.
Interchange: Harry Carter, Jack Teanby, Marcus Stock, Joe Porter.

Try: Batchelor (5);
Goals: Robinson 2/3;
Drop-goal: Robinson (70)

Leigh: Martyn Ridyard; Jonny Pownall, James Bentley, Iain Thornley, Stefan Marsh; Daniel Richardson, Josh Woods; Luke Douglas, Micky Higham, Luke Adamson, Toby Adamson, Andy Thornley, Joe Cator.
Interchange: Nick Gregson, Mitch Cox, Aaron Smith, Tom Spencer.

Try: A Thornley (32);
Goals: Ridyard 2/ 3.

Referee: James Child;
Half-time: 6-6;
Penalty count: 6-7.
Attendance: 2,020

Related posts