Leigh 46 – 30 Barrow

Leigh Centurions warmed up for Thursday’s Coral Challenge Cup fifth round tie at Hull Kingston Rovers with an eight-try victory over an injury-ravaged Barrow Raiders at LSV.

Gregg McNally joined an elite group of Leigh players to score 100 tries for the club with his early try, celebrated with a trademark swallow dive, becoming only the 11th man in the Club’s history to achieve that feat.

Iain Thornley was a deserved Man of the Match for a classy hat-trick, sealed with an incisive finish in front of the North Stand.

Martyn Ridyard hit seven goals from eight attempts and Josh Woods scored his first Leigh try in front of his family on the North Stand.

Adam Swift earned Heritage Number #1484 on dual registration from St Helens and scored two fine second half tries on his return from injury to close in on his own career century.

And the crowd again topped the 3,000-mark on a sunny afternoon as LSV celebrated its official recognition for being an Autism Friendly Stadium after a splendid initiative driven by Leigh Community Trust.

The visitors took away many of the plaudits for contributing five tries to an entertaining but bizarre game that contained 13 tries in all, 28 penalties and three yellow cards, including a ten-minute stage when the home side was reduced to 11 men after a double sin-binning.

And Leigh Centurions head coach John Duffy was far from happy afterwards.

Duffy said: “I thought Barrow were outstanding. They stuck to their game plan and played really well. They came to frustrate us and we were off with our attitude and that’s what we spoke about before the game. Credit to Barrow today and real poor from us.

“But we deserved the win and the two points and we can now look forward to the Challenge Cup on Thursday.

“We stepped it up when we needed to but that’s not good enough. Barrow deserve all the credit. They came and had a right dig at us. Their middles were superb and a lot more aggressive than ours. We’ve got to learn to be on it every week.

“Attitude, mentality and that’s it. That’s all we spoke about all week. But I’ve never seen us cut up like that down the middle all season. It’s not how we do things and it’s not good enough. But we got the result.

“Iain Thornley was really good and deserved his hat-trick today. Big well done to Gregg McNally on his one hundred tries for the Club. It’s a massive achievement.

“But I’m not happy with the way we performed today.”

McNally’s typically classy finish to a sparkling Leigh move got the scoreboard ticking and Jonny Pownall had a score ruled out for a forward pass before Jamie Dallimore opened Barrow’s account with a penalty.

Sam Brooks ploughed over for a close-range score and with Jarrad Stack in the sin bin for interference at the re-start Iain Thornley took full advantage to bag two quick-fire tries, the first from a classy McNally pass, the second sparked by Swift’s midfield break.

Leigh were 22-2 ahead at this stage but in no time at all Barrow closed the gap to just eight points after Dan Toal and Theerapol Ritson scored impressive converted tries either side of the interval.

When Joe Cator and Stefan Marsh were both sin-binned after the same play- Cator for a late tackle and Marsh for holding down- Leigh were under the pump.

But despite the two-man disadvantage they somehow created the space for Swift to score on the right and open up a 28-14 lead with Ridyard’s splendid conversion.

Leigh were still down to 11 men when Stack crossed on the right to reduce the gap to ten points going into the last quarter.

But Woods jubilantly dummied his way over to celebrate his landmark try and Swift supplied a brilliant finish to another flowing move as Leigh moved clear.

Iain Thornley then scattered the close-range defence from Ridyard’s inside pass to seal his Man of the Match award.

But Barrow fought back and late tries by Deon Cross- a spectacular 90-metre interception effort despite Luke Adamson’s unavailing chase- and Glenn Riley from close range saw them finish on a high.

Leigh Centurions: Gregg McNally; Jonny Pownall, Adam Swift, Iain Thornley, Stefan Marsh; Martyn Ridyard, Josh Woods; Luke Douglas, Micky Higham (capt), Sam Brooks, Toby Adamson, Nick Gregson, Luke Adamson.
Interchange: Liam Hood, Joe Cator, Tom Spencer, Andy Thornley.

Tries: McNally (13), Brooks (26), I Thornley (32, 36, 73), Swift (52, 69), Woods (62);
Goals: Ridyard 7/ 8.

Sin bin: Cator & Marsh (48)

Barrow Raiders: Theerapol Ritson; Deon Cross, Jarrad Stack, Jake Spedding, Tom Loxam; Jamie Dallimore, Ryan Johnston; Josh Johnson, Wartovo Puara, Alec Susino, Bradd Crellin, Willie Minoga, Lewis Charnock.
Interchange: Nathan Mossop, Glenn Riley, Tom Walker, Dan Toal.

Tries: D Toal (38), Ritson (41), Stack (58), Cross (78), Riley (80);
Goals: Dallimore 3/ 4, Charnock 2/ 2.

Sin bin: Stack (30).
Referee: Ben Thaler;
Attendance: 3,036;
Half-time: 22-8;
Penalty count: 17-11;

Main Match Sponsor: School Lettings.org;
Match Ball Sponsor: Bedford Packaging;
Digital Programme Sponsor: Lloyds Electrical Contractors;
Mascots: Riven Anderson & Finn Lincoln.
Leigh Centurions Man of the Match:
Iain Thornley;

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