Sheffield 12 – 34 Leigh

Leigh Centurions serve up Mother’s Day treat!

The Centurions clipped the high-flying Eagles’ wings and moved into tomorrow evening’s Coral Challenge Cup fifth round draw after a fine six-try victory at Olympic Legacy Park.

Head Coach John Duffy was delighted with what he termed his side’s “most complete performance of the season.”

Leigh’s first-ever Challenge Cup win against the Eagles- at the sixth attempt- was also a Mother’s Day celebration for the Adamson family.

Mum watched on proudly as Luke celebrated his landmark 300th career appearance with a key role in Leigh’s cohesive pack.

 Brother Toby, arguably Leigh’s player of the season so far, scored a first half try and produced another 80-minute performance alongside him. The brothers, partners in a flourishing and inventive health food business, served up the perfect Mother’s Day treat.

Gregg McNally moved to 99 Leigh tries after scything through to open the scoring in the third minute as the visitors put down a marker with their fast and inventive plays despite being hammered in the penalty count.

 Martyn Ridyard and Josh Woods teamed up superbly at halfback and Joe Cator, another 80-minute man was another stand-out in the pack.

Andy Thornley proved his versatility by switching to centre when Stefan Marsh pulled out after injuring his knee in the warm-up and was also a man of the match candidate from a fine team performance.

“It was a great display and just reward for our fantastic fans for coming all this way on Mother’s Day,” Duffy said. “Sheffield have been on a great run and Mark Aston has recruited well and put together a very good side. They have got used to playing at home on their pitch and so this was a big effort from the boys.”

 Leigh had two tries disallowed as they dominated the first half territory and possession and so it was against the run of play when Ryan Millar equalised for the Eagles in the corner.

But the visitors went in 18-6 ahead after a Woods 40/20 set up the position for Ridyard to create an opening for Toby Adamson. Iain Thornley’s superb inside pass and Mitch Cox’s great attacking line then rewarded Leigh for a dominant and fluent first half display augmented by three Ridyard conversions.

Eagles got back to within six points with an Oliver Davies try again converted by Pat Walker and the tie was in the balance at this stage.

But Jonny Pownall’s two moments of magic turned the game back in Leigh’s favour.

Pownall’s tackle on Millar after another finely judged Woods kick saw the ball come free for Nick Gregson to pounce for the killer try. Pownall then snaffled a crisp McNally pass to dive over in the corner.

Sam Brooks, so often an unsung hero in the Leigh pack, ploughed over for a powerful try to confirm his side’s impressive display.

Sheffield Eagles: Josh Guzdek; Ben Blackmore, Sonny Esslemont, James Glover, Ryan Millar; Pat Walker, Anthony Thackeray; Brad Knowles, Greg Burns, Matt James, Joel Farrell, Oliver Davies, Aaron Brown.
 Interchange: James Davey, Shaun Pick, Rory Dixon, Lewis Taylor.

Tries: Millar (25) Davies (52);
Goals: Walker 2/ 2.

Leigh Centurions: Gregg McNally; Jonny Pownall, Andy Thornley, Iain Thornley, Mitch Cox; Martyn Ridyard (captain), Josh Woods; Jake Emmitt, Liam Hood, Sam Brooks, Toby Adamson, Nick Gregson, Joe Cator.
Interchange: Micky Higham, Tom Spencer, Luke Adamson, Dec O’Donnell.

Tries: McNally (3), T Adamson (29), Cox (39), Gregson (58), Pownall (64), Brooks (67);
Goals: Ridyard 5/ 6.

Referee: Greg Dolan;
Attendance: 596;
Penalty count: 11-4;
Half-time: 6-18.

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