Kevin Larroyer’s second half try eventually settled this Betfred Championship Shield game in Leigh Centurions’ favour at the Crown Oil Arena.
Larroyer’s winning score came from a scrappy and disjointed build-up but it was enough to break Hornets’ hearts.
The home side, battling to avoid bottom spot and a play-off to preserve their Championship status, made a dream start as they built an early 12-0 lead with a long range try from fullback Richard Lepori followed by a second from livewire halfback Danny Yates.
The visitors fought back with three tries in a nine-minute spell through Jordan Walne, Ricky Bailey and Ilias Bergal but two Danny Whittaker penalties restored parity at 16-16 by half-time.
With four players spending time in the sin bin the second half was briefly played 11-a-side and Leigh’s interchange options were reduced with several players feeling the effects of a sickness bug that had swept through the camp.
Ben Reynolds got Leigh’s noses back in front before Larroyer’s third try in two games and Reynolds’ fourth goal finally doused Hornets’ hopes.
The visitors at least had the consolation of keeping Hornets scoreless in the second half and tightened up effectively after the early tries they conceded.
Leigh Centurions take on Batley Bulldogs at LSV next Sunday (3pm) before travelling to Dewsbury Rams to complete their Shield league programme.
Featherstone Rovers continue to hold a two-point lead over the Centurions after their win over Dewsbury Rams and are in prime position to host the Shield final on the first weekend in October.
Rochdale Hornets: Richard Lepori; Deon Cross, Toby Adamson, Setareki Talatoka, Rob Massam; Tyler Whittaker, Danny Yates; Lewis Hatton, William Brickhill, Pat Moran, Lee Mitchell, Luke Adamson, Jovilisi Taira.
Interchange: Dec Gregory, Lewis Gaskell, Joseph Ryan, Ryan Millington.
Tries: Lepori (5), Yates (8);
Goals: Whittaker 4/ 4.
Sin bins: T Adamson, Lepori
Leigh Centurions: Ben Reynolds; Ricky Bailey, Jack Owens, Matty Dawson-Jones, Ilias Bergal; Nick Gregson, Drew Hutchison; Greg Richards, Micky Higham, Adam Walne, Kevin Larroyer, Jack Blagbrough, Jordan Walne.
Interchange: Josh Johnson, Sam Peet, Mitch Cox, Jordan Dezaria.
Tries: J Walne (14), Bailey (20), Bergal (23), Larroyer (65)
Goals: Reynolds 4/ 5.
Sin bins: Larroyer, Bergal
Referee: John McMullen.
Penalty count: 11-11.
Photo credit: Gorilla Photography