Leigh Centurions hold on to secure 18th successive win against Sheffield Eagles
LEIGH Centurions survived a major second half scare to win their 18th consecutive match of the Kingstone Press Championship season, beating Sheffield Eagles 32-24 today.
It was an indifferent performance from the Centurions as they ran up a 26-6 half-time score only to be pegged back.
Leigh got away to a swift opening when a Tommy Goulden offload found Ryan Brierley and the half-back shot through the line and finished.
In the absence of Martyn Ridyard, Brierley took over kicking responsibilities and added the first of four goals.
Sheffield responded brightly and replied in scrappy fashion when Scott Turner picked up a loose ball to claim the first of a hat-trick.
Dominic Brambani converted and the teams remained level until Gregg McNally was tackled late.
This put the Centurions on the front foot and when Sam Barlow played the ball quickly, Sean Penkywicz darted through and linked for Bob Beswick to claim his sixth try of the season.
A further three tries went Leigh's way as the hosts took complete command. This came on the back of the platform set by Jamie Acton and Tom Spencer, and was continued by Jake Emmitt and Sam Hopkins.
Goulden turned try provider after 33 minutes for Chris Hankinson before a smart kick near the line from Penkywicz was grounded by Matthew Sasfield.
As the Eagles were still recovering from that blow, Leigh took a further stranglehold on the contest when Hopkins charged to the line from dummy half.
Leading 26-6 a similar bulldozing start to the second half was threatened but Leigh could not make their early advantage count and inspired by replacement hooker James Davey, the Eagles roared back into the contest.
First Eddie Battye offloaded on his own 20-metre line after Brierley had seen his pass intercepted and Turner blazed down the wing for his second try before Davey picked his way clear for another Brambani improved score after 55 minutes.
Now trailing by just eight points the visitors had renewed belief and claimed a fourth try when Brambani's high kick was grounded by Turner for his third and the scrum-half added his fourth goal.
The game was at breaking point and appeared to be heading Sheffield's way when McNally was put behind his own line for a drop out.
However, Leigh held on and then responded in the closing seconds when Barlow offloaded and former Eagle Tom Armstrong skipped to the line to make sure of the win.