Halifax 22-32 Leigh

The Championship game of the day lived up to expectations as Leigh held off a determined late surge from Halifax to win a pulsating game 32-22 and keep up a winning run that now stretches 10 games.

In the first half both sides went at each other from the outset.

Leigh had the first opportunity in the opening minutes when quick play released Tom Armstrong only for the defence to just reach him in time.

In response Halifax saw a fired pass from Miles Greenwood drift forward while a Martyn Ridyard kick was plucked out of the air by Armstrong and the Fax defence just held him short of the line.

The Centurions pace was difficult for Halifax to contain and Leigh scored the first try after 5 minutes when John Duffy cleverly placed Chris Hill in a hole and Jamie Ellis supported for his 11th try of the season. Mick Nanyn goaled and Leigh continued to dominate the first quarter with Halifax only venturing into Leigh territory on a couple of occasions.

In comparison, Leigh had chances when first Nanyn kicked ahead after collecting early ball and Leigh then had a try disallowed when Dean McGilvray was adjudged offside. The winger was desperately unlucky when he was just put out of play in the 16th minute by Danny Jones after the Centurions had carved Halifax open.

As the pressure built, Halifax cracked and the Centurions did grab a second try after twenty minutes when Steve Maden worked a gap down the right for Stuart Littler to burrow over in the corner.

It should have been more a few minutes later when Nanyn snapped up an attempted chip by Jones and ran fifty metres only for Greenwood to ankle-tap him to the ground.

Still Leigh kept up the pressure and only valiant defence held out Tommy Goulden and Armstrong.

At that stage Leigh looked set for a big score but the introduction of Makali Aizue, Sean Penkywicz and Jim Gannon levelled the forward battle and Fax got their first try through Joe Chandler after back-to-back penalties.

A second try quickly followed when former Centurion Miles Greenwood picked his way through the middle after good work from Gannon and Jacob Fairbank. Graham Holroyd goaled to level the game – 10-all at half-time.

The second half swung from side to side in the first ten minutes of the new half before Leigh wrestled their way in front after Donlan’s quick pass saw Ellis race 20 metres. From the play-the-ball Mick Govin delayed things long enough for the gap to open and Chris Hill galloped in.

Halifax threw away a golden opportunity in the 56th minute when Greenwood split the defence and passed wide only for Paul White to see the ball trickle into touch.

The Centurions rode their luck and responded strongly with three tries in ten minutes. Steve Maden notched a quickfire double that his big efforts deserved.

The first came just a minute after Fax’s bombed opportunity when first Govin sent Donlan charging through and then from dummy half Ridyard cleverly dummied and then boomed a pass out and Maden scurried in.

Once again Halifax were struggling to contain a strong Leigh effort as Govin and Ellis forced drop outs.

It set the platform and a fine backline move down the right saw Ellis, Donlan and Armstrong involved before Maden claimed his eighth try of the season. That final pass from Armstrong was exceptional and with Nanyn increasing his goal tally for the game to four, the game was all but beyond Fax at 28-10.
A couple of minutes later, Leigh again found their try scoring mojo when Stuart Littler sliced through a static defence from Duffy’s quick pass.

At 32-10, it was definitely game, set and match Centurions but Halifax threw caution to the wind and claimed two fine late tries through Rob Worrincy and Lee Paterson to grab a bonus point.

Worrincy’s try was his 14th game in succession with a try and the Paterson try was even better as Fax mixed up the point of attack. Graham Holroyd kicked his third goal and although the hosts took a bonus point, victory was Leigh’s.

Halifax: 1 Miles Greenwood, 20 Paul White, 2 Lee Paterson, 5 James Haley, 23 Rob Worrincy; 6 Danny Jones, 28 Graham Holroyd; 25 Michael Ostick, 13 Bob Beswick, 10 Neil Cherryholme, 16 Paul Smith, 24 Stephen Bannister, 19 Jacob Fairbank. Subs: 8 Makali Aizue, 9 Sean Penkywicz, 15 Jim Gannon, 18 Joe Chandler.

Tries: Chandler (31), Greenwood (38), Worrincy (77), Paterson (80).
Goals: Holroyd 3/4.

Leigh: 1 Stuart Donlan, 2 Steve Maden, 22 Tom Armstrong, 4 Mick Nanyn, 5 Dean McGilvray; 6 Martyn Ridyard, 25 Jamie Ellis; 8 Chris Hill, 9 John Duffy, 32 Lee Mitchell, 3 Stuart Littler, 12 Tommy Goulden, 11 James Taylor. Subs: 15 Andy Thornley, 20 Sam Hopkins, 23 Mick Govin, 26 Dave Mills.

Tries: Ellis (5), Littler (20, 67), Hill (50), Maden (57, 64).
Goals:  Nanyn 4/6.

Attendance: 2479
Referee: Clint Sharrad
Penalties: 6-6

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