York 38-48 Leigh

Leigh continue to win and score lots of points but if there were alarm bells ringing last time out against Hunslet then they must have been deafening in the aftermath of a point glut against bottom of the table York City Knights.

While Leigh scored eight tries and made it look easy at times, they also leaked seven in a real Jekyll and Hyde performance. By comparison, York too must be credited for their tenacity and second half attacking display.

The Centurions started well enough. In fact it was a great start – eighteen-nil up inside the first quarter.

From the outset Leigh were capable of making yards and with Mick Govin and John Duffy on the field, quick plays were aplenty. York held out just five minutes before Leigh took the lead. A half break by Jamie Ellis and surge from Adam Higson took Leigh within five metres of the line. Switching direction, Ellis then kicked for the posts and Martyn Ridyard chased through to score.

It was another profitable day for point scoring ace Mick Nanyn who booted eight goals from as many attempts. He converted and made it 12-0 after 12 minutes after Anthony Thackeray failed to find touch with a penalty. Duffy split the line and played the ball quickly to Govin who charged through for his first try of the season.

Steve Nash and Andy Thornley laid the platform for the Centurions third score with their workload and when Ellis carved through on the right, Ridyard appeared at his shoulder, did a prize juggling act and grounded his eleventh try of a profitable season.

After that solid opening, York finally attacked when they gained possession from a long Tom Bush restart. The former Leeds player was hauled down on the line but York took advantage of Leigh’s retreating defence for Chris Thorman to plunge over from dummy-half for his seventh try of the season. Surprisingly Bush missed the conversion and the hosts could have had a second try a couple of minutes later had James Haynes grounded cleanly. Clinically, Leigh went down the other end of the field and scored. Ridyard’s flat pass put Higson through and he unselfishly passed for Ellis to run to the posts.

It was around this time that Leigh lost the services of Duffy and Rhys Evans to injury and York came back into the contest.

Wide passes stretched the defence with Thorman finding James Ford with an adjacent looking ball. He continued the move and drew Stuart Donlan before Jon Presley tracked inside to go under the posts and stretch his lead at the top of the York try-charts. This time Bush added the extras but Leigh’s response came quickly.

The Centurions again surged downfield and top scorer Ellis claimed his 20th try of the year in support of Chris Hill.

That should have been the end of the half but the hosts refused to wither and seconds from the break, Jack Stearman from scored at the side of the posts from Thackeray’s pass and Bush again goaled to make it 30-16.

Early in the second half Stuart Littler had a try disallowed for obstruction, but when Tommy Goulden stormed through the middle off Ellis and Nanyn kicked goal number six, Leigh looked set to complete a convincing victory.

Steve Maden had another chance when he snapped up an intercept from Matt Garside and turned both Thackeray and Presley inside out in a sixty metre run. Eventually, Maden was tackled after swapping passes with Ridyard and despite seemingly blasting the defence open; the Centurions could not take advantage.

Within a minute of missing a try, it was York’s turn to go down the ground and score when Thackeray and Rhys Clarke opened the defence and Garside galloped over from thirty metres for his sixth touchdown of the year. From the restart, York went into attack mode again with Thackeray providing the spark and James Haynes sent Clarke to the posts. Thorman goaled both to make it 36-28 but Leigh settled their wobble with two tries in six minutes.

First Steve Nash continued his impressive recent scoring form in support of Ellis before David Mills surged over from a tap penalty with Nanyn adding his eighth goal to make it 48-28.

That should have been game, set and match. In truth it probably was but the spirited Knights refused to give in benefited twice more from slack defending as Presley made the corner and was followed by Duane Staugheir for Bush to convert and not only earn York a bonus point but complete a final score more akin to basketball.

20 Tom Bush
22 Ed Smith
29 James Ford
Dave Sutton
James Haynes
26 Anthony Thackeray
Chris Thorman
Nathan Freer
Jack Lee
10 Alex Benson
Duane Straugheir
19 Matt Garside
11 Rhys Clarke
Jon Presley
14 Jack Stearman
25 Steve Lewis
33 Jordan Rice

Tries: Thorman (20), Presley (33, 76), Stearman (39), Garside (58), Clarke (60), Straugheir (77).
Goals: Bush 3/4, Thorman 2/3.

Stuart Donlan
Steve Maden
32 Rhys Evans
Mick Nanyn
Dean McGilvray
6  Martyn Ridyard
25 Jamie Ellis
15 Andy Thornley
John Duffy
13 Steve Nash
14 Adam Higson
Stuart Littler
23 Mick Govin
Chris Hill
12 Tommy Goulden
16 Anthony Nicholson
26 David Mills

Tries: Ridyard (5, 18), Govin (12), Ellis (24, 37), Goulden (54), Nash (64), Mills (70).
Goals: Nanyn 8/8.

Referee: Mr Ronnie Laughton.
Penalties: 7-5.
Half-time: 16-30.
Attendance: 1,010.

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