Leigh home and dry, in battle for fourth place.

Leigh home and dry, in battle for fourth place.

By Tony Trumble
23 February
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Riding along on the crest of a wave.

Leigh’s squad of totally home-grown talent took on an Anselmians side, containing some journeymen yesterday, on a near perfect pitch and emerged as victors, picking up another valuable bonus point along the way.

The Grounds Team had worked so hard during the week to rescue the pitch, from last week’s saturation point, that at one stage they had to consider watering the pitch to make it playable!

Rob Drake, Eliot Liku and Chris Cowley made a welcome return, following injuries, with each of them making a telling contribution to yesterday’s scoreline.

The game got off to a flying start, with Anselmians playing with a strong breeze behind them in the first half. The first points in the game went their way, in the seventh minute, through a penalty, which was quickly followed by another penalty, on fifteen minutes, for a high tackle which earned the Leigh player a yellow card and ten minutes on the touchline.

Leigh, however, reacted positively to this setback and launched several attacks against the wind, to force Anselmians back into their own territory. Leigh’s persistence soon paid off when they spotted a mismatch down the right flank, with Jimmy Wilkinson skinning the cover defence, to score an excellent unconverted try.

Leigh needed to keep the score down in the first half, with the wind in their faces, to give them any chance of a victory and their resilient defence and willingness to work hard paid off handsomely, with the sides turning around at the break with Anselmians only leading by one point.

Leigh 5 Anselmians 6.

Leigh soon took advantage of the elements in the second half and piled on the pressure close to the Anselmians line. Ten minutes of constantly battering away was rewarded with a Joe Harrison try, when he stepped his way through the defence, to dot the ball down close to the sticks, with Rob Drake adding the extras.

A well struck penalty from thirty-five metres out, on fifty-five minutes, extended Leigh’s lead to nine points.

This was almost immediately followed by another try for Leigh, which came about when a kick through was spilled by an Anselmians defender. Fortunately for Leigh, Jimmy Wilkinson was on hand to dribble the spilled ball on, from thirty metres out, to touch down wide out on the left for a well taken, unconverted try.

Leigh 20 Anselmians 6.

Anselmians regrouped and after knocking on Leigh’s door for five minutes, eventually barged their way over for a converted try to narrow the deficit.

Leigh picked themselves up again and through sheer guts and determination set up camp, close to the Anselmians line, where Connor O’Neil pirouetted and forced his way over following several assaults by the forwards. This try triggered the bonus point for scoring four tries and Rob Drake’s well struck conversion took Leigh out into a fourteen point lead, with three minutes to go.

But, credit to Anselmians, they needed to earn a bonus point of their own and they were rewarded for their hard work when they crashed over for a converted try, from a five metre scrum, in the final play of the match, to take the sides off at the eighty minute mark, with Leigh winning by twenty-seven points to twenty.

Another excellent performance from this young Leigh squad, who really stuck at it yesterday, against a very well organised and experienced side.

Next week, Leigh travel away to meet eighth placed Aspull, who are currently four places and twenty-seven points behind them in the League. In the previous game this season, Leigh prevailed by forty-six points to seventeen at Hand Lane.

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