It was a Good Friday for Leigh Centurions but the Lions could take plenty of heart from their performance as the hunt for their opening victory continues this Easter weekend.
Swinton Lions 10-40 Leigh Centurions
The Centurions made it three wins in three Championship games in a hard fought game over their local rivals in front of a bumper crowd.
The visitors started strongest and had try cancelled out in the fourth minute when Ricky Bailey went over the line, but the final pass was forward. Swinton immediately replied with some good pressure on the line but the defence held out.
Former Lion Liam Hood opened the scoring ten minutes later when he darted over from short range by the posts and Craig Hall converted. This was quickly followed by a second try when Nathan Mason went over from a good passing movement and again the conversion was good.
The Lions got on the board after some good build up play by Kyle Shelford and Jack Hansen to feed George Tyson. He outpaced the defence to score on the right-hand side but the conversion attempt from Chris Hankinson hit the uprights and bounced out.
In seek of their first win of the season, Stuart Littler’s men pushed on. However, the next Lions try came courtesy of a Centurions mistake. The visitors were awarded a penalty ten metres off their own try line but they failed to find touch and the Lions quickly moved up field. Will Hope broke clear to pass to the supporting Kyle Shelford and he raced in under the posts with Hankinson converting this one to put the Lions right back in the game. but
However, there was a sucker punch to come when the Centurions scored two more tries in the final three minutes of the half. Hall going over on the right after good build up play by Drew Hutchinson and the second again by Hall when Ben Crookes made a good break to feed him the ball and he raced away to score by the posts. He added both conversions to give his side a good lead at the break.
Leigh started the second half by taking the game to the Lions and an excellent tackle by Jack Hansen prevented Bodine Thompson from scoring in the forty-third minute. However, five minutes later the Centurions added their fifth try when the same player got his reward after the ball went through many pairs of hands for him to score by the posts. Hall was good with the boot again.
The next try was a complete gift when Hutchinson sent a high kick towards the Lions right side defence and Elliot Caine dropped it and it was swooped up by Peter Mata’utia near the try line and dived over but Hall could not convert this one.
The Lions where trying everything to get to the try-line but the Centurions defence was scrambling well and they couldn’t break the line. The visitors got their reward for relentless defending with twelve minutes left. The impressive Hall and Crookes combined to send Matty Dawson-Jones over in the corner and Hall again was good with sixth conversion but the game ended with the Lions again pressing the line but unable to break through.
Ian Rigg reporting from Heywood Road
LIONS:George Tyson, Elliott Caine, Rhodri Lloyd, Liam Forsyth, Marcus Webb, Chris Hankinson, Jack Hansen, Andy Bracek, Luke Waterworth, Andy Thornley, Macauley Davies, Matt Sarsfield, Will Hope