Leigh Centurions 42-38 Sheffield Eagles
Sunday 5th May 2019, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 13
Andy Thornley, Greg McNally, Ryan Brierley, Iain Thornley, James Laithwaite, Joshua Eaves, Liam Hood,
Martyn Ridyard (7),
Aaron Brown, Ben Blackmore, Ryan Millar, James Glover, Anthony Thackeray (2), James Meadows,
James Glover (2), Pat Walker (3),
IN a brilliant advert for Championship rugby league, Leigh Centurions won a thriller against Sheffield Eagles thanks to a late Liam Hood try.
The lead changed hands on many occasions with both sides looking like they had a foothold and were on their way to victory.
It was a late rally from the hosts that got them over the line, in front of their boisterous South Stand.
Leigh opened the scoring inside five minutes as Josh Woods’ cut-out pass was collected by Andy Thornley, who had a simple finish. Martyn Ridyard was on hand to convert.
The Centurions put more pressure on the Eagles try-line as the opening quarter came to a close. Woods won a goal line dropout but the attack petered out and the Eagles countered well.
Ben Blackmore and James Meadows combined to get Sheffield up to halfway and they capitalised on the territory when Aaron Brown steamed on to a flat ball to crash over. James Glover converted.
On 24 minutes, the Eagles were down to 12-men as James Davey received his second yellow card of the year. The hooker was penalised for a tip tackle and sent to the sin-bin. Leigh made use of the numerical advantage soon after as McNally was played over on the wing. Ridyard added the goal.
In the latter stages of the first period. Sheffield scored three tries in just over five minutes to shock the hosts.
Scrum-half Anthony Thackeray spotted Blackmore on the wing with the line at his mercy and the playmaker chipped a ball over the top for him to score. Glover converted, with help from the post.
Mark Aston’s side went ahead for the first time in the match when Ryan Millar showed his acrobatics to score. Glover’s conversion attempt strayed wide.
The final four-pointer of the half went to Glover, who supported a Davey break and finished the move. He couldn’t convert.
In similar fashion to the Eagles’ quick-fire tries, the Centurions responded with two of their own straight after the break.
Ryan Brierley, on his return to the Leigh Sports Village as a Centurion, crossed the whitewash from close range to reduce the arrears. Ridyard converted.
The following set saw Leigh make good ground and a penalty on the last tackle had them camped on Sheffield’s line.
A one-one-one tackle on Iain Thornley saw the ball come loose but the centre touched down to send the LSV into raptures. Ridyard added the goal.
Sheffield then regained the advantage with another quick flurry of tries.
Thackeray bagged a brace, either side of a debut score for Meadows who touched down a Pat Walker grubber. Walker converted all three tries.
But the Eagles certainly couldn’t envisage what was to come next.
Tries from James Laithwaite, Josh Eaves and Hood – with conversions as always from Ridyard - capped off a brilliant comeback for the Centurions, who will take massive confidence from this in their fight for the top five.
For the Eagles, they will rue a missed opportunity and look to bounce back at Blackpool.
By Dan Fowler for League Express