Leigh Centurions will head back to the green, green grass of home next Sunday against Batley Bulldogs after a five-game away sequence that has seen them reach the semi-finals of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup and maintain their top five challenge in the Betfred Championship.
Just one defeat in five, and that by only a four-point margin at Featherstone last week, has seen John Duffy’s men maintain their great recent run, with eleven wins in their last 13 games since the Good Friday defeat at Widnes.
Leigh’s third win of the season over the relegation-threatened Raiders was just as hard earned as the other two, demonstrating the strength of the competition.
Paul Crarey’s side have claimed some impressive recent scalps and after working hard to earn a tenuous 6-4 interval lead thanks to Gregg McNally’s individual effort, the visitors took control with early second half tries through Iain Thornley and Martyn Ridyard.
Barrow had soaked up sustained early pressure to take the lead through Deon Cross and they responded with another try in the corner, Tee Ritson crossing to give them hope.
But Jordan Thompson’s late try and a Cory Paterson penalty- as he celebrated his 32nd birthday with a stand-out display- saw Leigh safely home.
On a dramatic day of action in the Championship York drew at Batley and Bradford at home to Swinton and so Leigh are level on points with Toulouse, one point adrift of second placed York with Featherstone two points behind in fifth. Bradford and Sheffield are within touching distance of the top five.
The points tally reads: Toronto 40, York 29, Toulouse 28, Leigh 28, Featherstone 26, Bradford 25, Sheffield 24.
It was a special day for Club Captain Micky Higham, celebrating his 550th career game on a ground where he made his senior debut for Leigh in 1999.
And Iain Thorney celebrated his 150th career game with that crucial try.
Leigh Centurions head coach John Duffy said: “After the disappointing defeat at Featherstone we responded in the right way. It was a real tough first half and we were really clumsy in some of our sets but we had a set for set mentality and I think we deserved that try at the end of the half.
“We had some harsh words at half-time and we stepped up to the plate and took the game by the scruff of its neck. We scored a couple of tries just after half-time and that really saw the game off.
“We spoke about taking them on one on one on a tight pitch and attacking the edges and that paid off.
“We were really dogged in that second half and restricted them to nine sets plus the four they got from penalties and hopefully we saved some energy for next week.
“It was a massive result for us and I’m really proud of the players and the staff. Some good teams have come here and got turned over and so to get the win was a good achievement.
“Every game in the Championship now is massive and we can’t have a minute off.
“We’re back at home next week which will be good for us. Our travelling support was great again today and I’d just like to thank the fans for turning out in numbers and following us everywhere we go as it makes a big contribution to our success.”
Barrow Raiders: Luke Cresswell; Tee Ritson, Declan Hulme, Stargroth Amean, Deon Cross; Jamie Dallimore, Jake Carter; Jordan Walne, Wartovo Puara jnr, Alex Susino, Liam Parsley, Jarrad Stack, Martin Aspinwall.
Interchange: Glenn Riley, Tom Walker, Ben White, Brett Carter.
Tries: Cross (9), Ritson (53)
Goals: Dallimore 0/ 2.
Sin bin: Dallimore (70) repeated punching
Leigh Centurions: Gregg McNally; Liam Forsyth, Andy Thornley, Iain Thornley, Stefan Marsh; Martyn Ridyard, Josh Woods; Sam Brooks, Micky Higham, Luke Adamson, Toby Adamson, Joe Batchelor, Joe Cator.
Interchange: Liam Hood, Cory Paterson, Jake Emmitt, Jordan Thompson.
Tries: McNally (38), I Thornley (42), Ridyard (47), Thompson (71)
Goals: Ridyard 3/3, Paterson 1/ 2
Sin bin: Woods (70) retaliation
Referee: Tom Grant
Penalty count: 5-7