Leigh Centurions will be a Super League club in 2023 after easing past Batley 44-12 in the Championship Grand Final.
2023 will be the fourth season Leigh have been in Super League, having played in 2005, 2017 and 2021, suffering relegation in all three seasons.
The Centurions have had a brilliant campaign under the leadership of coach Adrian Lam. The won the 1895 Cup at Tottenham earlier this year and have now clinched promotion toSuper League for next year.
Leigh opened the scoring in the 14th minute through Papua New Guinea international Lachlan Lam, with Krisnan Inu converting.
Adrian Lam’s side got their second try of the night when Joe Wardle got a fine offload away to Inu who scored, and converted his own try in the process.
Leigh took a healthy 18-0 lead into the half-time interval thanks to a try from Scotland international Wardle late in the first 40.
Leigh Centurions 18-0 to the good at half-time
The Centurions got off to to a perfect start in the second half. Wales World Cup hopeful Caleb Aekins raced 60 metres down the wing to score, with Inu adding the extras.
Leigh put the game out of reach for the Bulldogs in the 45th minute when Aekins made a break to assist the supporting Joe Mellor who scored in front of the roaring North Stand at the Leigh Sports Village. Inu’s conversion put the hosts in a 30-0 advantage.
Papua New Guinea international centre Nene Macdonald stretched Leigh’s lead further in the 54th minute.
Batley didn’t give up. They pulled one back when Dale Morton crashed over on the hour mark.
The tries kept coming for Leigh though as Inu and Kai O’Donnell posted further efforts.
Batley got a second try through Adam Gledhill late on in front of their celebrating travelling contingent.
It was Leigh’s night to celebrate as they secured promotion to Super League with a strong 44-12 win over Batley in front of a 7,233 crowd at the LSV.
Leigh: Aekins; Inu, Chamberlain, Macdonald, Ferguson; Lam, Mellor; Sidlow, Smith, Amone, Wardle, Stone, Asiata. Subs: Nakubuwai, O’Donnell, Ipape, Reynolds.
Tries: Lam, Inu (2), Wardle, Aekins, Mellor, Macdonald, O’Donnell Goals: Inu 6
Batley: Hooley; Morton, Hodson, Buchanan, Campbell; White, Gilmore; Gledhill, Blake, Brown, Manning, Walshaw, Reilly. Subs: Meadows, Leak, Ward, Flynn.
Tries: Morton, Gledhill Goals: Gilmore 2