Leigh survive scare against Sheffield

Leigh have kept their 21-game winning streak alive after a see-sawing battle with the Sheffield Eagles.

A resurgent Sheffield gave the visitors an almighty scare and were leading late in the game.

But a try to Hock right on the buzzer gave the Centurions a dramatic 30-34 victory and was a heart-breaker for the Eagles.

Leigh rested a number of key players ahead of the Middle 8s, including Josh Drinkwater, Cory Patterson and Micky Higham.

Fullback Greg McNally made his return from injury.

It was a terrible start for the Centurions as they failed to deal with the kick off and handed the Eagles an early chance.

They didn’t waste it, Menzie Yere touching down a Cory Aston grubber in the second set to open the scoring.

Aston converted to give Sheffield a 6-0 lead.

Leigh hit back through McNally. The fullback dummied and sliced through the Eagles’ defence to touch down in the corner.

Martin Ridyard failed to convert from the corner.

Soon after a penalty gave Sheffield some excellent field position and they took advantage.

An offload to Duane Straugheir found the second-rower in space and he forced his way over. Aston couldn’t add the extras so the Eagles had a 10-4 lead.

Sheffield were finding some easy holes in the Leigh line. Scott Wheeldon was the next to strike as he touched down under the sticks.

The mistakes from the sloppy Centurions were adding up and the Eagles’ tackling was fierce.

But when Sheffield coughed up the ball near their line Leigh responded quickly, Tom Armstrong on the end of a slick backline movement.

Ridyard converted and the score was now 16-10.

Just before half-time Matty Fozard went close to scoring Sheffield’s third try but the ball just evaded him in the in-goal.

Leigh went up the other end through a penalty and Ridyard tied the score up with a try and conversion of his own.

A penalty against Sheffield right before half-time gave Ridyard another shot a goal and he nailed it, with the visitors taking a slender 16-18 lead at the break.

The Eagles took the lead back in the second half through Nathan Chappell. Aston converted the try from the sideline.

But Leigh responded soon after, Gareth Hock setting up Andrew Dixon to power over.

Ridyard’s conversion was wide and it was locked up at 22-22.

Leigh winger Eze Harper broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute after racing 50 metres to score. Ridyard’s conversion was perfect.

The Centurions had a 22-28 buffer with 16 minutes left.

But Leigh’s lead lasted only a matter of seconds as Sheffield struck back through Menzie Yere. The game was tied once again as Aston added the extras.

With seven minutes left on the clock Aston had a shot at goal and the kick was successful, giving the Eagles the lead 30-28.

However, there still was drama to come. With less than a minute left Hock steamrolled over to secure the victory for Leigh and keep their perfect record intact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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