Leigh Centurions got their 2020 Betfred Championship season off to the perfect start with an impressive 36-10 win at Dewsbury.
Ben Reynolds scored a try and kicked six goals from as many attempts as Leigh shut out the home side in an excellent second half display.
Leigh Head Coach John Duffy was delighted with the way his side dominated the game after the break. He said: “It was a really, really tough game. Dewsbury stuck to their game plan and I thought our discipline was poor in the first half.
“We asked for more discipline in the second half and we got that. When we did get good ball I thought we looked really, really classy.
“It was a tough, gritty performance and the second half from us was really professional.”
Leigh were without close season signings Jarrod Sammut and Mark Ioane who were suffering with with illness. But there were debuts for Ben Hellewell, Nick Glohe, Danny Addy, Matty Wildie, Alex Gerrard and Callum Field. Cameron Scott, who is with Leigh on season-long loan from Hull FC, also started on the wing.
Playing into a stiff wind, Leigh struggled to get going in the first half and Dewsbury led in the eighth minute when Addy was penalised for obstruction and Paul Sykes kicked the conversion.
Having been forced to defend for much of the opening quarter, Leigh made the most of a rare opportunity with a try in the 19th minute. Josh Woods barged his way through from close range and Reynolds added the conversion to make it 6-2 for the visitors.
Dewsbury replied with a try from Adam Ryder after some nice interplay on the right edge and Sykes added the goal superbly from the touchline. He also added a penalty seven minutes before half-time to give his side a 10-6 lead.
Moments before half-time, Leigh levelled things when Scott finished off a slick short side attack to score in the corner. Reynolds kicked the conversion off the touchline to make it 12-10 at the break.
The second half was completely dominated by Leigh as they added four converted tries without reply. Hellewell hit a nice line to barge over for his first try for the club in the 52nd minute before a nicely delayed pass from Gregg McNally created the opportunity for Iain Thornley to go over.
The try of the night arrived 10 minutes from the end when Liam Hood broke superbly through the middle, handing onto to Addy who in turn fed Reynolds and he finished off the 60 metre move in style with a swandive over the tryline.
With time almost up, an angled kick to the corner from Sykes was picked up by Adam Higson on his own tryline and he set off on a length of the field sprint to the tryline. Reynolds finished the evening with six goals from six, a fine return from the Leigh Joint Vice Captain.
Leigh: McNally, Scott, I Thornley, Sa’u, Higson, Reynolds, Woods, Mason, Hood, Spencer, Hellewell, Glohe, Addy. Subs: Wildie, Thompson, Gerrard, Field
Tries: Woods, Scott, Hellewell, I Thornley, Reynolds, Higson
Goals: Reynolds 6 (from 6 attempts)
Dewsbury: Martin, Gabriel, Ryder, Fleming, Oakes, Sykes, Finn, Scott, Speakman, Reilly, Esslemont, Johnson, Annakin. Subs: Day, Dixon, Nelmes, Magrin
Goals: Sykes 3 (from 3 attempts)
Referee: Cameron Worsley