It was a crucial match for both sides as Leigh Centurions looked to maintain the 100% Qualifiers record as they visited the Lightstream Stadium to take on Hull KR who themselves desperately needed the win to get them into the automatic Super League positions going into the last three games.
It was third against fourth, Super League against Championship, and the most exciting looking Qualifiers game of the weekend.
A big seventh-five points win would put Leigh top while a thirty-eight point win for KR would see them go second ahead of Huddersfield Giants.
With the mercurial Albert Kelly suspended after a breach of club discipline, James Websters side had given them an self-imposed hurdle to jump against a fearsome looking Leigh pack full of ex-Super League stars.
Leigh set out their stall from the first tackle but it was KR who scored the first points of the game from the book of Josh Mantellato after Cory Paterson hit Ben Cockayne off the ball twenty metres from his own line.
On five minutes Ken Sio picked up a bounce pass in acres of space and went ten metres, jinking past two Centurions defenders, to dive over in the corner. Mantellato failed to add the extra two leaving his side 6-0 ahead.
Eleven minutes in and Josh Mantellato took a high and fast Chris Clarkson pass to go a couple of metres to ground, again he failed to add the extras but at 10-0 any early Robins nerves had been settled.
On sixteen Shaun Lunt was obstructed chasing his own kick and Mantellato accepted the opportunity to extend the lead to two converted tries. KR were approaching this dangerous game in a thoroughly professional manner.
Leigh opened their account on twenty-four when substitute Sam Hopkins somehow found his way over the line when it looked like the KR defence had got him wrapped up. Martyn Ridyard kicked the extra two for 12-6.
As the half moved on and the rainy conditions worsened both sides became increasingly clumsy and it was the home side who took a six point lead into the interval.
Six minutes into the second half and Leigh were level when Andrew Dixon took a Ridyard offload to outpace the KR defence to run over from ten metres. Ridyard added the extras for 12-12 and on forty-nine the visitors took the lead when Ben Cockayne lost a Ridyard kick to the corner allowing Matty Dawson to pick up the loose ball and dive over. Ridyard failed to convert but his side were four ahead.
It was three tries in five minutes when Josh Drinkwater took a Corey Paterson pass to score under the sticks and give Ridyard a simple kick for 22-12. Leigh were now totally dominating.
On sixty-five the game swung back in the Robins direction when Cockayne found a gap and made a break before feeding Matty Marsh to go the remaining twenty to score by the uprights and with Mantellato's conversion the margin was back down to four points.
A thirty-five metre Ridyard penalty extended the Leigh margin back to six points with ten minutes remaining.
The closing minutes were a little frantic as KR tried to find the breakthrough, while Leigh endeavoured to keep their defensive line intact. Three minutes from time and Ridyard managed to grab a thirty metre drop goal to extend the lead to seven and secure a famous 25-18 victory.
This was a crucial and impressive win for Leigh Centurions who are now four from four and level on points with the Leeds Rhinos at the top of the Qualifiers. Their second Super League scalp was a massive step towards a return to Super League in 2017, and with Batley Bulldogs still to play another win should be enough to see them win automatic promotion. Hull KR are right back into the mix and will be increasingly concerned about an involve,net in the million pound match.
KR: Cockayne, Sio (T), Minns, Thornley, Mantellato (T, 3G), Marsh (T), Blair, Allgood, Lunt, Tilse, Greenwood, Clarkson, Walker. Subs: Larroyer, Mulhern, Lawler, Donaldson.
Centurions: McNally, Higson, Worthington, Brown, Dawson (T), Ridyard (4G, DG), Drinkwater (T), Hock, Higham, Weston, Maitua, Tickle, Paterson. Subs: Hood, Hansen, Dixon (T), Hopkins (T).
Referee: Rob Hicks.