With a lack of games due to weather conditions a rare mid-week was arranged at Leigh East, 7.30pm kickoff under floodlights. A good number of our supporters had made the journey for this top of the table clash. The opening quarter belonged to the home team who were quickly out of the blocks scoring two unanswered tries to lead 10 – 0. On 20 minutes, a kick through was picked up by Leigh in their 20m but a great tackle by Robert Bagdjian forced a knock-on picked up by Chorley. From a quick play the ball Jack Swarbrick jinked round the advancing defence to score, converted by Robert Meadows, 10 – 6. Despite strong play from both sides, no further points were added to halftime.
Again Leigh started the brighter in the second half scoring an unconverted try on 33 minutes to lead 14 – 6. A further 9 minutes passed with both teams giving their all but Leigh’s ill-discipline was beginning to give the advantage to the Panthers. On 42 minutes, after a number of penalties, the ball was fed quickly from right to left for Danny Gallagher to score in the corner, conversion missed to bring Chorley back into the game, 14 – 10. Despite dragging themselves back into the game, errors from Chorley were giving easy territory and possession to Leigh from which they scooted over to extend their lead to 18 – 10.
Following some strong approach play on 54 minutes, Robert Meadows scooted from hooker to force his way over in the corner to reduce the gap to 4 points, 18 – 14, but a knock-on from the restart gave Leigh the ball on our 20m and they moved it wide to score in the corner, 22 – 14. With time running out on 58 minutes the restart was this time knocked on by Leigh, and a combination of strong running and quick hands from JT, Rory and Cam got the ball to Jack Purdham running a great line to power over near the posts, converted by Robert Meadows, 22 – 20. However, in the final minute, another mistake from the restart gave the final set to Leigh East who ran down the clock to win a very close fought contest. The coaches couldn’t fault the lad’s efforts again tonight but the game was lost by too many unforced errors and an uncharacteristically lack of intensity in defence. Plenty to work on in training this week - report by Peter Swanwick.