Leigh 31 – 8 Halifax

Leigh Centurions avenged their early season defeat at The Shay with an outstanding team performance against the Challenge Cup semi-finalists.

Man of the Match Mitch Cox came straight off a night shift to score a brace of first-half tries after Iain Thornley’s opener as Leigh opened up a 16-0 interval lead. Liam Hood and Sam Brooks added second half tries with Martyn Ridyard kicking five goals and a drop-goal.

Chester Butler and James Woodburn-Hall scored second half tries for Halifax.

 Leigh Centurions head coach John Duffy said: “It was a fantastic performance against a really good team in Halifax. They’ve picked up since Grixy got the job there and they’re a very good team, as they showed in the Challenge Cup.

“We knew we had to be at our best today and our lads were outstanding across the board.

“We knew we had to complete high against them and match them down the middle. We knew we had to be our best to get something out of the game but we can’t fall in love with ourselves. We have another tough game coming up against Bradford next Sunday and now all our attention will be on that game.

 “There were some big performances and some big minutes.

“Mitch came straight off night shift. We had to feed him when he got here and I think he had 16 carries and scored his tries well and showed what a great player he is.

“Liam Forsyth was outstanding on debut and has fitted in really well straight away.

“Out middles were really good today. Their attention to detail was really important.

“The fans were great today and hopefully we’ll have a good crowd again next week.”

Gregg McNally made a crucial try-saving tackle to deny Liam Cooper over the line before joining the attack to good effect as Iain Thornley burst over on the left.

 McNally then provided the extra man in the attacking line for Cox’s expert finish in the corner before linking with Forsyth to create Cox’s second.

Ben Kaye was held up over the line for Halifax before a hard-fought first-half ended with Jacob Fairbank in the sin-bin after a flare-up.

McNally then made another crucial intervention to snaffle a dangerous offload from Butler’s offload before Leigh turned pressure into points as Hood burst over from dummy half after McNally had gone close.

Joe Cator pulled off a try-saving tackle on Adam Tangata before Ridyard extended Leigh’s lead to 22-0 with a 64th minute penalty.

 Halifax regained possession from the kick-off and opened their account as the dangerous Butler scored in the corner.

There was another flare-up after Josh Woods was hit late off the ball and Dan Fleming was sent-off for punching with Iain Thornley sin binned in the same incident.

Ridyard added another penalty and a drop-goal and Brooks ploughed over by the posts in front of the celebrating Leigh fans on the North Stand before Woodburn-Hall showed his class by dummying his way over for a late consolation for the visitors.

Leigh Centurions: Gregg McNally; Mitch Cox, Liam Forsyth, Iain Thornley, Stefan Marsh; Martyn Ridyard, Josh Woods; Luke Douglas, Micky Higham, Sam Brooks, Toby Adamson, Joe Batchelor, Joe Cator.
Interchange: Liam Hood, Andy Thornley, Tom Spencer, Gareth Hock.

Tries: I Thornley (13), Cox (17, 21), Hood (52), Brooks (78)
Goals: Ridyard 5/ 7
Drop-goal: Ridyard

Sin bin: I Thornley (70)

Halifax: Scott Grix; Will Sharp, Chester Butler, Steve Tyrer, James Saltonstall; Scott Murrell, Quentin Laulu-Toga’gae; Ben Kavanagh, Ben Kaye, Adam Tangata, Liam Cooper, Kevin Larroyer, Jacob Fairbank.
Interchange: Brandon Moore, James Woodburn-Hall, Elliot Morris, Dan Fleming.

Tries: Butler (65), Woodburn-Hall (80)
Goals: Tyrer 0/ 2

Sent-off: Fleming (70); Sin bin: Fairbank (40)

Referee: Jack Smith
Attendance: 3,361
Penalty count: 9-10
Half-time: 16-0

Main Match Sponsor: Pro Build Plumbing & Heating Ltd
Match Ball Sponsor: AB Sundecks
Digital Programme Sponsor: Austin Wilkinson Transport
Man of the Match: Mitch Cox

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