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Leigh came out on top and won through to the fifth round of the Betfred Challenge Cup in the Monday night clash between two of the Championship's more fancied sides.



Both teams and both sets of spectators paid tribute befoe kick-off to Leigh and rugby league legend Des Drummond, whose funeral was held earlier in the day.

The Cherry and Whites had first use of the ball and showed that they meant business, getting over the half-way line before the kick and then holding the Vikings within their own 20m in their first defensive set.

And their pressure was rewarded on their next set - after winning a scrum and then a set restart - when Aekins did a simple show and go on the Widnes line to power over and open the scoring.

A successful conversion from Reynolds from out wide saw the score stand at 6-0 with less than five minutes gone.

Aekins doubled his tally and extended Leigh's lead when who powered over in the corner after a slick move across the line from right to left. Reynolds couldn't convert this time, but the Centurions were leading 10-0 after 10 minutes.

Their domination continued, but without fruit when loose forward John Asiata crossed just three minutes later, but couldn'tl ground the ball over the line.

Ed Chamberlain was next to score in his 100th game, running a clever line to beat a defence wrong-footed by an Aekins run-around. Reynolds kicked the conversion from the other touchline and the hosts led 16-0

It was not until the second quarter of the game that the Vikigs made a serious attacking impact on the game. They failed to score from a Ste Tyrer kick-through to the in-goal but did force a goal-line drop out.

But that was the only bright spot, brought to an end by a Leigh break which took play back deep inside the Widnes half, where the Vikings gave away a couple of scrums before Centurions winger Jy Hitchcox crossed only for it to be ruled out because of a forward.

But it was the visitors' Brad Holroyd who scored next, catching a floated kick to put the ball down in the corner and take the score to 16-4. Tyrer pulleld his touchline conversion attampt to the side, although at least the Vikings were on the scoreboard

Anbd they foudn thei feet again in the final minutes of the half, pressing the Leigh line with repeat sets though the main result was a yellow card for Leigh's Mark Ioane, but their was no change to the score before half time - though players from both teams boiled over for a bit of afters as the hooter sounded.

Despite being a man short, Leigh started the second half on the front foot, piling on the pressure as they did in the first 40.

And again it payed off when Keanan Brand got on the end of a pass on the right-hand touchline after the Widnes defence failed to deal with a grubber kick. Reynolds converted from the touchline and the 12-strong team had extended their lead to 22-4.

Leigh full-back Aekins notched up a hat-trick when he beat the advancing Widnes players in the air to collect a bomb on his own 10m line and raced 90m to score. Reynolds somehow missed one of his easier kicks of the night.

The centurions kept up the pressure, including a kick to goal when awarded a penalty for a high tackle on 61 minutes. That took Leigh's advantage to 24 points - the equivalent of our converted tries - and left Widness needing to score at more than a point a minute just to force extra time.

That looked unlikely. But Sam Stone made it impossible when half-backs Joe Mellor and Reynolds combined to put him into space. With Reynolds' conversion, that moved the score to 34-4 in favour of the Centurions.

Just two minutes later, Hitchox scored in the left corners, diving over to make it 38-4. But Reynolds couldn't make it 40 from the touchline.

Widnes never looked like scoring in the second half and when the final hooter finally sounded it brought the curtain down on what looked like another Cup mismatch, rather than a tie between teams with good opening records in the league.

Leigh Centurions: Aekins (3T); Hitchcox (T), Chamberlain (T), Roberts, Brand (T); Reynolds (4G, P), Mellor; Sidlow, Smith, Amne, Stone (T), Wardle, Asiata. Subs: Ipape, Jones, Hingane, Ioane (Y38).

Widnes Vikings: Roby; Brookes; Fleming, Tyrer, Holroyd (T), Smith; Lyons, Dupree, Fozard, Baker, Davies, Wilde, Brown. Subs: Doro, Grady, Lawton, Hulme.

Half-Time: 16-4.

Full-Time: 34-4.

Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 10-0, 14-0, 16-0, 16-4 : HT : 20-4, 22-4, 26-4, 28-4, 32-4, 34-4, 38-4 : FT .

Referee: James Child.

Venue: Leigh Sports Village.




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Posted by tb on Mon 28th Feb 2022 7:19 PM | Views : 13933 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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