Leigh Centurions bounced back from defeat against Toronto last week to claim their first Championship victory of the season with a dominant 34-6 win over Batley Bulldogs.
Neil Jukes made three changes to his Leigh side that lost to Toronto Wolfpack last week. Craig Hall, Kyle Lovett and Dan Mortimer dropped out and were replaced by Ilias Bergal, Kevin Larroyer and Kurt Baptiste.
Batley coach Matt Diskin handed a competitive debut to Lewis Galbraith while Dom Brambani and Pat Walker started in the halves.
Leigh open the scoring in the seventh minute. Bodene Thompson took on the Batley defence before passing it to Ben Crooks who darted 50 metres to score. Ben Reynolds converted to put his side 6-0 up at the Leigh Sports Village.
Nathan Mason extended the Centurions’ lead midway through the first half. The big prop forward went on a rampaging drive to touch down. Reynolds’ boot took the score to 12-0.
The Centurions were in complete control in the first half. They looked solid and weathered a Bulldogs storm on a couple of occasions and came close to scoring nearly every time they were near the Batley try-line.
Crooks got his second and Leigh’s third on the half hour mark after he spotted a gap out on the left side. The conversion was on point and the hosts were 18-0 to the good.
Batley pulled one back on the verge of the half-time hooter sounding as Alex Rowe crashed over the line from close. Pat Walker converted but Leigh were 18-6 ahead at the break.
Leigh started the second half in just as good fashion as they did in the first. A lovely passing move saw Kevin Larroyer score his first try in a competitive game for the club. Reynolds failed to convert, Leigh 22-6 Batley.
The Bulldogs were struggling to cope with Leigh’s attacking threat in the second half. The Centurions passed it along the line to Matty Dawson-Jones who finished well in the corner. Reynolds’ conversion made the score 28-6 in favour of the home side.
Jukes’ side were in again in the 65th minute. Former St George Illawarra Dragons half-back Drew Hutchison made a break and assisted the supporting Jamie Acton who scored under the sticks. The conversion was good and Leigh were 34-6 in front.
The Centurions had a couple of more chances to score at the death but the Bulldogs kept them out in the last ten minutes, with Leigh running out 34-6 winners to claim their first Championship win of the season.
Leigh: 19 Owens; 2 Dawson-Jones, 3 Crooks, 4 Mata’utia, 25 Bergal; 6 Reynolds, 7 Hutchison; 8 Vaivai, 14 Hood, 18 Mason; 11 Larroyer, 12 B Thompson, 15 J Thompson. Subs: 27. Baptiste, 10 Acton, 13 Hansen, 16 Patrick.
Batley: 1 Scott; 2 Reittie, 3 Crookes, 4 Galbraith, 5 Ainscough; 6 Walker, 7 Brambani; 8 Gledhill, 9 Leak, 10 Rowe; 11 Manning, 12 Harrison; 13 Brown. Subs: 14 Davey, 15 Day, 16 Holland, 17 Ward.
Starman: Jack Owens