Leigh 36 Sheffield Eagles 28: Eagles give big-spenders great battle

Sheffield Eagles were denied a share of the spoils right at the death after a 36-28 defeat in a thriller with Leigh Centurions
Rob Worrincey scored two of Eagles' five tries. 
Picture Dean AtkinsRob Worrincey scored two of Eagles' five tries. 
Picture Dean Atkins
Rob Worrincey scored two of Eagles' five tries. Picture Dean Atkins

Mark Aston’s side gave the division’s big spenders a real run for their money at the Leigh Sports Village, before eventually slipping to their second defeat of the 2016 campaign.

Eagles produced a stunning second half performance with Quentin Laulu-Togagae and Menzie Yere a constant thorn in a Leigh side, but after drawing level at 28 each, the home side snatched a late score to secure the points.

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Centurions came flying out of the blocks with early tries from Dayne Weston and Adam Higson, but Aston’s side steadied themselves and halted the early onslaught.

On 17 minutes Yere made the ground with a punching break, and from the next play Keal Carlile arrowed the pass to Worrincy, who picked the ball off his laces to score in the corner. Michael Knowles missed the conversion.

With the Eagles on top they were hit with a sucker punch when Mickey Higham dived over after a quick break from dummy half, Ridyard added the extras.

Back came the Eagles with the best move of the game. George Tyson showed great fleet-of-foot to break the Leigh line before a sublime flick pass found Ben Blackmore. The winger was then supported on the inside by Quentin Laulu-Togagae who sprinted over the line for a clinical score. Knowles added the extras.

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Again with the Eagles in the ascendancy the hosts managed to dig themselves out of trouble with Lewis Charnock diving over just before the interval. Ridyard converted.

After the break Leigh looked to have given themselves the necessary breathing space after poor Eagles defending allowed Reni Maitua in to score.

The visitors refused to lie down and came storming back into the contest when a barnstorming Yere broke through to score. Knowles converted.

A Ridyard penalty gave Leigh a 12 point lead, but the Eagles continued to create chances as they sensed a possible upset.

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After heavy pressure on the Leigh line, the visitors finally broke through with Worrincy grabbing his second try in the corner, and Knowles expertly converted.

Soon after the Eagles dramatically levelled when Yere again made the ground before switching inside to Laulu-Togagae for an easy run-in. Knowles converted.

With only a couple of minutes remaining Eagles conceded a penalty in front of the sticks which Ridyard converted, then a Cory Paterson score sealed the points for a relieved home team.

Leigh: Pownall, Owen, Higson, Whiting, Harper; Ridyard, Charnock; Moimoi, Higham, Weston; Hansen, Hock; Paterson. Interchange: Foster, Spencer, Maitua, Emmitt.

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Scorers: Tries: Weston (7), Higson (10), Higham (27), Charnock (38), Maitua (44), Paterson (80) Goals: Ridyard 6/8.

Eagles: Laulu-Togagae, Worrincy, Yere, Tyson, Blackmore; Aston, Hewitt; Wheeldon, Carlile, Neal; Knowles, Straugheir; James. Interchange: Fozard, Stringer, Minchella, Mexico.

Scorers: Tries: Worrincy (17, 34), Laulu-Togagae (31, 37), Yere (50) Goals: Knowles 4/5.

Referee: Chris Kendall.

Attendance: 3,282.