Leigh 48 – 12 Batley

Leigh Centurions returned home to Leigh Sports Village and continued their top-five Betfred Championship challenge by completing a seasonal double over the Bulldogs.

After a five-week absence while the annual pitch maintenance took place John Duffy’s men recorded their 12th win in their last 14 outings.

With Toulouse defeating Sheffield yesterday, Featherstone inflicting a heavy defeat on bottom club Rochdale and the crucial game between York and Bradford ending in another in for the City Knights Leigh’s win leaves them in fourth position in the table with five games to go.

With Toronto runaway leaders, second-placed York have 31pts, Toulouse and Leigh 30, Featherstone 28 with Bradford outside the five on 25 and Sheffield on 24.

Midweek signings Junior Sa’u and Mitch Clark made their Leigh debuts, earning Heritage Numbers #1490 and #1491 respectively while Adam Higson was back at his hometown club for a third spell.

Ryan Brierley reached the milestone of 1,000 career points with a try inside the first minute and finished the game in style, seizing on a loose ball after the hooter had sounded and racing away from inside his own half.

There was a brace, too, for Iain Thornley including a second half scorcher again from inside his own half with Joe Cator, Luke Douglas, Josh Woods and Stefan Marsh also going over and Brierley hitting six goals.

Batley enjoyed a purple patch after going 24-0 down after the first quarter, scoring tries by Sam Walters and Louis Jouffret, both converted by Jouffret.

It was a sign of just how tough the game had been that Luke Douglas was the sponsor’s man of the match for another big game in the pack.

Leigh Centurions head coach John Duffy said: “All credit to Batley, they came and had a real go, and deserved their tries but we made things difficult for ourselves with our errors, particularly at the start of the second half. They were simple dropped balls and probably took a lot of energy from us.

“I’m happy with the way we defended the errors and didn’t let them score in the second half but we’ve got to be better than that next week.

“It’s a massive achievement by Ryan, especially with him being so young as well.

“We scored some great tries early on but we’ve been a sucker to that this season, shutting up shop after going ahead early on. We scored some great tries again later on.

“It’s tough for the new boys coming in with us not being full-time. They’ve only had a couple of sessions with us and it takes a while to get used to our systems, but I’m really pleased they gone out there and they’ve shown glimpses of what they can do.

“Micky’s a massive part of the club and he had a big smile on his face after scoring his first try of the season, and in front of the North Stand, too.

“I hope he gets another next week, too. It’s derby week and it’s a massive game against Widnes.”

Next week both clubs turn their attentions to the semi-finals of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup with a place at Wembley at stake. Batley travel to Sheffield in the first semi-final (2pm) with Leigh Centurions entertaining Widnes Vikings at LSV (4pm) with both games being streamed live on the RFL’s Our League app.

Leigh Centurions: Gregg McNally; Adam Higson, Junior Sa’u, Iain Thornley, Stefan Marsh; Ryan Brierley, Josh Woods; Luke Douglas, Micky Higham (capt), Luke Adamson, Toby Adamson, Cory Paterson, Joe Cator.
Interchange: Liam Hood, Mitch Clark, Jake Emmitt, Jordan Thompson.

Tries: Brierley (1, 80), Cator (9), Douglas (17), I Thornley (20, 65), Woods (40), Higham (71), Marsh (79)
Goals: Brierley 6/ 9

Batley Bulldogs:
Dave Scott; Wayne Reittie, Sam Smeaton, Jack Broadbent, Keenen Tomlinson; Louis Jouffret, Danny Yates; Adam Gledhill, Alistair Leak, Tyler Dickinson, Sam Walters, Sam Wood, Lewis Bienek.
Interchange: Reiss Butterworth, Toby Everett, Tom Lillycrop, Michael Ward.

Tries: Walters (28), Jouffret (35)
Goals: Jouffret 2/ 2

Referee: Billy Pearson;
Half-time: 30-6
Attendance: 3,125
Penalty count: 10-5

Main Match Sponsor: Pro Build Plumbing & Heating Ltd;
Match Ball Sponsor: The Leigh Arms;
Digital Programme Sponsor: Estate Agency Signs.
Leigh Centurions Man of the Match: Luke Douglas

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