Leigh Centurions 35 North Wales Crusaders 22

Sean Penkywicz scored Leigh's final try in a thrilling encounter

Sean Penkywicz scored Leigh's final try in a thrilling encounter

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LEIGH Centurions remain top of the Kingstone Press Championship after a seven-try to four thriller.

Centurions have now gone six games without defeat and are firing on all cylinders after a flying start to the campaign.

But they had to fight off a scare from newly-promoted North Wales Crusaders who had all the game in the early stages.

The Wrexham-based side took the lead after eight minutes when a well-worked move down the left brought a try for Rob Massam, converted suberbly by full-back Tommy Johnson.

Gradually, Leigh worked their way into the contest and a Centurions attack from the scrum was too much for the Crusaders to contain with Gregg McNally putting Adam Higson in by the flag.

Although Martyn Ridyard struggled with his goal kicking, his kicks in general play were of high standard and Leigh began to win the battle for territory.

The Centurions struck again after 22 minutes with great play involving half the team before Higson finished at the corner.

McNally turned provider again after 31 minutes for Higson's hat-trick and it was 12-6 to the hosts at half-time.

Early in the second half Crusaders drew level after Adam Lawton scored and looked to be pressing again before Ryan Brierley snapped up a pass 10 metres from his own line and sped 90 metres for a glorious intercept.

Once again Crusaders levelled through a converted try by Johnson and although Leigh went clear again with a converted Oliver Wilkes try, the visitors would not be shaken off with Mark Offerdahl scoring.

Johnson missed the conversion and Leigh finished the game strongly with Liam Kay surging in at the corner from 25 metres before Sean Penkywicz ran under the posts for Ridyard to add his third goal.

There was still just enough time at the end for Ridyard to strike a 35 metre drop goal to make sure of victory and secure a 35-22 win.

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