Leigh 34 – 12 Dewsbury

Leigh Centurions paid a heavy price for their hard-earned seven-try victory over Dewsbury Rams at LSV.

Iain Thornley and James Bentley both notched hat-tricks that provided the gloss on a fiercely fought, physical encounter that saw the Centurions return to winning ways after their derby defeat at Widnes on Good Friday.

But injuries to Gregg McNally, Jonny Pownall and Josh Woods and further checks required on several other players in a post-match dressing room that resembled a World War One dressing station had head coach John Duffy again questioning the wisdom of shoe-horning in two games over Easter for part-time teams.

McNally suffered a suspected fractured cheekbone after a sickening collision in only the third minute while Pownall faces an anxious wait for a check on a suspected serious ACL injury and Woods a check on an elbow injury that saw him leave the field late on with his arm in a sling.

Duffy said: “It’s all about the two points. It always is on Easter Monday.

“I don’t know when they’re going to have a think and get rid of these Easter games because it kills your season off.

“We’ve lost three or four today with injuries with real big injuries and they’ve gone for X-rays now and will probably need surgery, Gregg with his cheekbone, Jonny with his ACL and Josh Woods with his elbow. It always happens around Easter.

“I think we have got to deal better with teams coming trying to frustrate us. That’s what teams have been doing on us when they come to Leigh.

“I’m really happy with the two points. I was really upset with Friday’s performance at Widnes in a local derby. We had a good chat Sunday morning and ironed a few things out. I’m glad the fans turned up in force today, They were brilliant at Widnes and were brilliant again today.

“We’ve got to dust ourselves down again and get ready for Batley and get some energy back. It’s silly asking part-time teams to play two games in four days as you invariably get injuries and we’ve seen that today with both sides having lads being seen by the doctor.

Joe Cator, 80 minutes through the middle backing up after Friday was outstanding. He’s a fit lad and he’s been great for us again today.

“Micky (Higham) and Hoody (Liam Hood) at 6 and 7 at the end there – I don’t think that’s ever been seen. I’m just glad we had players at the end there.

“Fantastic from James Bentley and Iain Thornley and James Laithwaite performing like that for 80 minutes after his lay-off, superb. Jake Emmitt marking his 250th game which is a great achievement so that was special again. So, some big efforts again on Easter Monday.”

Leigh dominated most of the first half but had only two tries to show for their efforts, Thornley crossing for his first on left after a flowing move and Bentley scything through on the right.

But when Liam Finn’s kick created the opening for Simon Brown to open Dewsbury’s account the visitors went in trailing by only two points with the game in the balance.

Matty Costello, outstanding as he switched to fullback to cover for McNally sparked Leigh into life at the start of the second half as they attacked the North Stand in the sunshine.

After being held up just short he set up the position for Hood to send Thornley blasting over from close range before finishing another fluent move on the right.

Then followed arguably the try of the season so far for Leigh, as Woods’ chip to the wing was superbly flicked back by Pownall for Bentley to gallop over.

But Dewsbury never let their intensity drop and narrowed the gap to just 12 points when Kyle Trout powered his way over for a converted try.

Bentley had a try disallowed and Leigh had the confidence to run a penalty in front of the posts despite the closeness of the score. Finally, their perseverance paid off as Bentley completed his hat-trick and Thornley followed suit after more quick hands in an extended injury-time.

Leigh Centurions: Gregg McNally; Jonny Pownall, Matty Costello, Iain Thornley, Mitch Cox; Martyn Ridyard, Josh Woods; Luke Douglas, Micky Higham, Jake Emmitt, Toby Adamson, James Laithwaite, Joe Cator.
Interchange: Josh Eaves, Liam Hood, Sam Brooks, James Bentley.

Tries: Thornley (6, 44, 80), Costello (47), Bentley (20, 52, 77)
Goals: Ridyard 2/ 2, Woods 1/ 4, Costello 0/1.

Dewsbury Rams: Luke Hooley; Rob Worrincy, Dale Morton, Adam Ryder, Andy Gabriel; Simon Brown, Liam Finn; Tom Garratt, Liam Mackay, Kyle Trout, Samy Kibula, Michael Knowles, Daniel Igbinedion.
Interchange: Sam Day, Lucas Walshaw, Callum Field, Harvey Hallas.

Tries: Brown (31), Trout (55)
Goals: Finn 2/2

Sin bin: Knowles (69)

Referee: Billy Pearson;
Attendance: 3,043;
Half-time: 8-6;
Penalty count: 8-9.

Main Match Sponsor: ProBuild Plumbing & Heating Ltd;
Match Ball Sponsor: Anthony’s Travel;
Digital Programme Sponsor: Struktura Engineering Services;
Mascot: Sara Gopkrishnan;
Leigh Centurions Man of the Match: James Bentley.

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