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In the closing encounter of a thrilling Summer Bash, Leigh Centurions were looking for a win to go fourth, or a win by thirty-five  or more points to go third, in a very congested Betfred Championship table. Their opposition would be no walkover, a Widnes Vikings side with the same number of 2019 wins, but languishing near the bottom of the table as the result of a pre-season points deduction.

When the two sides met a month ago it was the Chemics who took the points with a 30-12 victory, but this was the most anticipated encounter of the weekend with an expection of no quarter being asked or given by either side.

The curtain call had the potential to be a humdinger.

It was Leigh who bossed the opening exchanges, but the Vikings who opened the scoring through the boot of Lloyd Roby on eleven minutes with a twenty metre penalty goal after an infringement from Joe Cator.

Widnes were penalised for a two man ball steal after a terrific Cator break and in what both sides obviously thought was going to be a close game, Martyn Ridyard kicked the goal to level the scores.

On sixteen Owen Buckley got the first four pointer after taking a pinpoint kick to the touchline and scampering ten metres to score by the corner flag. Roby didn’t have the power to get the ball to the sticks.

The on-field temperature was rising with two bouts of collective pushing  involving most of the player, the referee choosing to warn the captains rather than brandish the cards.

Toby Adamson hit a Josh Woods pass at high speed to crash the Widnes line and get their first four-pointer of the game. Ridyard added the conversion to put Leigh into a two point lead.

Liam Hood was provider for Greg McNally on twenty-seven after he pulled in three defenders before offloading to the winger to walk in a simple try. Ridyard was unable to kick the touchline conversion, Leigh 12-6 ahead.

Owen Buckley knocked on a towering kick on thirty-four, and on the fourth tackle Josh Woods put a grubber under the posts enabling Ryan Brierley to collect and go over for the try. Ridyard added a simple conversion for 18-6, Leigh now well and truly in the driving seat.

Woods failed to put a drop goal attempt between the sticks with sixty seconds remaining as he attempted to extend the lead to three scores.

A forty metre Ridyard penalty on forty-two made it 20-6 and in a flowing passing move two minutes later Brierley was on hand to complete an eighty metre break with a try under the sticks. Ridyard added the two and there was now a danger that Leigh were going to run away with it.

A Ridyard 40-20 set up the next try as James Laithwaite pushed aside the Vikings defence to get the ball on the ground. This time Ridyard was unable to add the two but at 30-6 Leigh had the game and the points in the bag.

Widnes had been rocked but stemmed the tide and on fifty-five Danny Craven stepped past the Centurions defence to move the Vikings into double figures. Roby added the conversion for 12-30, still a long way for Widnes to go to get anywhere near their opponents.

Roby himself scored Widnes’s third try of the evening on the hour mark taking a pass, losing and then regaining his footing, before going over from ten metres. He converted his own try and Widnes were back within two converted tries.

Leigh were rocked again on sixty five as Craven picked up his second of the game throwing a dummy and then spinning in the tackle to get the ball down. Roby was unable to add the conversion and his side were still eight points behind.

The win was finally in the bag on seventy-six thanks to a dramatic and spectacular Greg McNally try in the right corner. Ridyard canned his touchline conversion between the uprights for a fourteen point win and a final score line of 36-22.

A fitting finale to an excellent Summer Bash weekend as Leigh and Widnes did themselves and the Championship proud. Leigh sprinted to a big lead but all credit to Widnes who didn’t just capitulate and fought back to give the Centurions a real scare. Leigh held on for the points which lift them into fourth spot, and a play-off place. Widnes are now looking like the twelve point deduction will cost them a shot at promotion, they will have to wait for 2020 for their chance at re-joining Super League.

Centurions: Ridyard (5G), McNally (2T), Thornley I, Simm, Marsh, Brierley (2T), Woods, Douglas, Higham, Enmmitt, Adamson (T), Laithwaite (T), Cator.  Subs: Hood, Spencer, Thornley A, Batchelor.

Vikings: Roby (T, 3G), Hatton, Dean, Brand, Buckley (T), Craven (2T), Gilmore, Chapelhow J, Johnstone, Chapelhow T, Wilde, Walker, Cahill. Subs: Hansen, Ganson, Farnworth, Leuluai.

Referee: G. Dolan.

Half-Time: 18-6.

Full-Time: 36-22.

Attendance: .



Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 19th May 2019 7:18 PM | Views : 2977 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES

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