Leigh saved from relegation

Leigh will play in the Championship next season after the RFL confirmed a relegation reprieve.

The Centurions were relegated on the final day of last season, as Gateshead and Batley did enough to survive. This was despite finishing in 9th, above the exempt from relegation Toulouse.

However, since the close of the season, Gateshead have been plagued with financial problems, which resulted in its parent company being wound up.

This has handed a second chance to Leigh, who have continued to build a squad of some quality despite their relegation.

However, this reprieve means new coach Ian Millward will be able to lead his troops in the Championship in 2010, and of course gives them the chance to satisfy the Super League application criteria by appearing in a Championship Grand Final.

Amongst Leigh’s signings in the close season are Robbie Paul, Ricky Bibey and John Duffy.

A statement on Leigh’s official website read: “The club who finished third bottom of the division above Doncaster and Toulouse, and were initially relegated from the competition on points difference received the news this morning (Wednesday 11th November), although no further details on the 2010 Co-operative Championship league structures are known at this time.”

It means Gateshead will now move down to Championship One, and will start the season with a six point deduction.

Chief executive Rod Findlay said: “This is fantastic news for us, it means we can now set about all other avenues we need to go down to ensure we are ready for the new season with confidence.

“Now our business plan has been approved officially we can focus even more closely on tying up sponsors, boosting season ticket sales and all the other things that need attention between now and the turn of the year.

“All the staff at the club have worked extremely hard over the last few months to ensure that this could happen, and certainly Chris Hood and Keith Christie have really put in the extra hours, and now that’s paid dividends.”

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