Martyn Ridyard inspires Featherstone to victory over Leigh

Image credit: Matthew Merrick

Martyn Ridyard put in a classy display and helped Featherstone beat his former club Leigh on Sunday.

Kieron Purtill made five changes to the Leigh side that lost against Toulouse last weekend. Craig Hall, Rhys Evans, Ben Reynolds, Micky Higham and Larne Patrick replaced Jack Owens, Ilias Bergal, Daniel Mortimer, Jonah Cunningham and Nathan Mason.

John Duffy made two changes to his Featherstone side that beat Sheffield last time out. Leeds Rhinos duo Jack Ormondroyd and Mikolaj Oledzki came in for Scott Wheeldon and Richard Moore.

Featherstone started the game very well at the Leigh Sports Village. They passed it through quick hands to Luke Briscoe who finished nicely in the corner. Ian Hardman failed to convert but the Rovers were 4-0 up.

Leigh levelled the score in the 8th minute. In his second debut for the club, Evans picked up a loose ball and darted 50 metres to score. Reynolds couldn’t add the two.

The Centurions took the lead when Ben Crooks threw a dummy to go through a gap and score. Hall missed the conversion but Leigh were 8-4 to the good.

Shaun Robinson quickly replied for the Rovers though with a good finish in the corner. Hardman failed to convert, 8-8.

Hardman added his first goal of the afternoon in the 23rd minute. Leigh were caught interfering at the play-the-ball and Hardman added the penalty goal to edge his side into a 10-8 lead.

Ridyard was having a great game and grabbed an assist as he slipped Connor Farrell through a gap, with the former Wigan back-rower reaching over the line. Featherstone were six points ahead.

Leigh came back into the game and former New Zealand international Bodene Thompson crashed over from close range. Hall’s conversion tied the score at 14-14 after 28 minutes.

The Centurions were in again just a couple of minutes later. Featherstone failed to defend their line as Crooks sailed through a gap to score. Hall’s boot made the score 20-14 to Leigh at half time.

Like the first half, Featherstone started strong as Ridyard intercepted a pass to race 40 metres and score against his former club. He converted his own try, making the score level again at 20-20.

Matty Dawson-Jones put Leigh back in front in the 55th minute though. He finished acrobatically in the corner but Hall failed to convert.

Crooks completed his hat-trick as he flew over the line out wide on the hour mark. The conversion failed to hit the target but Leigh were 28-20 ahead.

The Rovers hit back though as former Castleford man Tom Holmes assisted Ridyard who went through a gap to score. He converted his own try and Featherstone only trailed by two points.

Hall edged Leigh’s lead to four points with a penalty goal after Featherstone were caught interfering at the play-the-ball.

Featherstone took the lead in the 73rd minute and made it a pulsating finish. Mitch Clark went on a strong run to barge over the line from close. Ridyard’s conversion put Featherstone into a 32-30 advantage.

Briscoe sealed the two points for the visitors in the dying embers of the game as he stole the ball from Kevin Larroyer to race 50 metres and score. Ridayrd added the extras and sealed a 38-30 victory against his hometown club.

Leigh: 1 Hall; 2 Dawson-Jones, 3 Crooks, 4 Mata’utia, 5 Rhys Evans; 6 Reynolds, 7 Hutchison; 20 Richards, 14 Hood, 13 Hansen, 16 Patrick, 12 B Thompson, 15 J Thompson. Subs: 30 Higham, 8 Vaivai, 10 Acton, 11 Larroyer. 

Featherstone: 1 Hardman; 5 Briscoe, 20 Hardcastle, 7 Thackeray, 2 Robinson; 6 Ridyard, 19 Holmes; 25 Clark, 9 Carlile, 28 Oledzki, 11 Farrell, 16 Mariano, 21 Knowles-Tagg. Subs: 14 Wildie, 15 Hock, 27 Ormondroyd, 22 Brooks.

Starman: Martyn Ridyard was excellent all afternoon and proved a point against his old club.

Attendance: 3,594

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