The only Sunday afternoon Championship fixture to survive the storms sweeping across the United Kingdom was the game at the LNER where two sides with two wins out of three, the York City Knights and the Leigh Centurions, clashed with an eye on taking second spot in the league.
The weather for those travelling from Leigh was atrocious as the tail end of Storm Eunice passed through and Storm Franklin breezed in, and it would be down to who would play the conditions the best as the pitch was deemed to be fit for the game to go ahead.
The sides took the field in dreadful conditions with driving rain and swirling wind. The opening score came on fifteen when Ben Reynolds kicked a penalty after a high tackle midway between the posts and the touchline.
York got lucky on twenty-three minutes when Leigh spilled the ball close to their own line after a Liam Harris grubber kick and Will Jubb dived on the loose ball for the first try. Jamie Ellis was unable to add the conversion in swirling wind.
Ellis missed a penalty attempt on twenty-eight in what looked like a poor decision not to run the ball. But on thirty-two a leg lift by York gave Reynolds the opportunity to level the scores and the Leigh half-back was on target for 4-4.
Dan Norman was held up over the York line by great defence with a couple of minutes remaining and took the handover. But on their next set of six another lift from York gave Reynolds a third penalty goal of the afternoon to establish a 6-4 interval lead for the Centurions.
Five minutes after the restart a Jake Winfield chip kick was collected by Sam Stone for a walk-in try for Leigh´s first four pointer of the afternoon. Reynolds added the conversion for a 12-4 lead, the Centurions looking a far more composed side in the opening minutes of the second half.
A high tackle from James Clare saw the York centre sin-binned on forty-seven to add to the home sides´ woes. Two tackles into their next set a Joe Mellor kick ricocheted off the post pad and into the hands of Reynolds for a second Leigh try. On fifty minutes Reynolds converted his own try for 18-4.
Reynolds had a try chalked off on fifty-four for offside but York were struggling to get any traction.
With a break down the left hand side found Caleb Aekins in some space to push past the defenders and cross and move the Centurions out of sight on fifty-nine minutes. Reynolds was unable to add the conversion from wide.
A delightful pinpoint Joe Mellor angled kick was anticipated, chased, and collected by Reynolds for his second try and he added the conversion for 28-4, it was all one-way traffic.
Within minutes Mellor repeated his kick through with this time Ed Chamberlain collecting the ball and diving over. Reynolds kicked his seventh goal of the afternoon for 34-4, a second half rout with ten minutes remaining.
Mellor picked up his own try on seventy-eight when he chipped over the top and collected his own kick to touch down. Reynolds added the conversion to bring up the forty, an excellent second half from the visitors.
There was nothing to choose between these two sides in the opening forty, but just as they had last week at Bradford, Leigh put their foot on the accelerator in the second half and motored to a big win to lift themselves into second spot in the table, tucked in behind top placed Featherstone Rovers. York´s aspirations took a bit of a battering at the hands of a fluid Leigh side; they will need a big improvement on this performance to trouble the top sides in 2022.
York City Knights: Marsh, Brown, Glover, Clare (SB on 47), Oakes, Harris, Ellis, Matongo, Jubb (T), Michael, Clarkson, Kirmond, Thompson. Subs: Davis, Teanby, Dixon, Pauli.
Leigh Centurions: Aekins (T), Hitchcox, Chamberlain (T), Macdonald, Brand, Reynolds (2T, 8G), Mellor (T), Sidlow, Hignano, Ioane, Nisbet, Stone (T), Amone. Subs: Norman, Wingfield, Ipape, Jones.
Score Progression: 0-2, 4-2, 4-4, 4-6 : HT : 4-10, 4-12, (SB), 4-16, 4-18, 4-22, 4-26, 4-28, 4-32, 4-34, 4-38, 4-40 : FT .
Referee: Jack Smith.