Leigh Centurions 40 Dewsbury Rams 24
LEIGH claimed the Kingstone Press Leaders Shield for the second year running with a hard earned win over Dewsbury at the Sports Village.
After drawing with nearest rivals Bradford at Odsal on Sunday, Leigh needed just one more point to secure top spot and the home advantage for the forthcoming Super 8s that comes with it.
Leigh made eight changes to Sunday’s side but still had too much firepower for the Rams with Ryan Brierley scoring a hat-trick of tries.
Centurions made the ideal start with a try in their first set of the game. They ran the ball on the last tackle and Brierley’s kick to the corner was collected by Tom Armstrong who scored. Ben Reynolds added the conversion.
Brierley was instrumental in Leigh’s second try, throwing a long pass out wide and Liam Kay finished off in the corner. Reynolds added the conversion from touch and Leigh led 12-0.
But Dewsbury, who ran Leigh close in the corresponding fixture earlier this season, started to enjoy more possession and they enjoyed long spells in the opposition’s half.
Leigh’s defence looked to have weathered the storm but with four minutes of the half remaining, Joel Farrell forced his way over from close range. Brad Delaney added the goal but missed a long range penalty just before half-time.
The Rams carried on where they left off after the restart and were level in the 50th minute. A kick through was pounced on by Dale Morton and Delaney’s conversion leveled things at 12-12.
Leigh’s response was stunning, scoring three tries in 10 minutes to take the game away from Dewsbury. Brierley scored twice either side of a Ben Reynolds try which was also created by Brierley.
With 13 minutes remaining. Martin Aspinwall’s short pass in the tackle send Brierley racing away for his hat-trick to make it 34-12.
To their credit, Dewsbury kept plugging away and scored tries through Ryan Fieldhouse and Farrell either side of a 76th minute Sam Hopkins score.
Leigh: McNally, Higson, Pala, Armstrong, Kay, Reynolds, Brierley, Moimoi, Higham, Acton, Sarsfield, Haggerty, Wilkes. Subs: Beswick, Aspinwall, Hopkins, Spencer
Dewsbury: Fieldhouse, Morton, Dunn, Hale, Scot, Delaney, Thackeray, Nash, Conroy, Hepworth, L Adamson, T Adamson Brown. Subs: Delaney, Farrell, Muranka, Smith
Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow
Weather: Dry and bright