Leigh Centurions 40 Sheffield Eagles 12
SHEFFIELD Eagles four match winning run in the Championship came to a crashing halt as Leigh Centurions completed a league double.
After battling back from a poor start the Eagles were hit by a four-try blast in the second half as they struggled for possession.
Torrential rain before the kick-off and flurries during the game made handling difficult.
Eagles hadn’t completed a set before they went behind with fullback Greg McNally exploiting sluggish defence to almost stroll in for the try. Martin Ridyard added the goal. Hooker Bob Beswick’s quick pass set centre Stuart Littler in for the second try with Ridyard again adding the goal.
Eagles first real attack came on 17 minutes and second rower Michael Knowles went over from dummy half with the try given by the video referee in a game being shown live on satellite channel Premier Sports. Simon Brown added the goal.
A more composed Eagles forced themselves into the game with Dominic Brambani putting in a couple high kicks one of which earned a scrum. The ball was out quickly and two passes took it to Quentin Laulu-Togagae who raced in for his 20th try of the season. Brown added the goal to level the scores. Eagles almost took a dramatic lead into half-time when following a penalty winger Vinny Finigan crossed but was ruled to have been offside when he collected Brown’s high kick.
Fullback Laulu-Togagae was being tested by a series of high balls and the Eagles defence came under pressure from the restart.
Leigh took the lead with a fast passing move that stretched the Eagles cover before winger Johnny Pownall came inside to take Matt Gardner’s pass to score.
Ridyard’s break split the Eagles line before his kick was touched down by Ryan Brierly. Ridyard added both goals.
The stand-off then capped a great spell for the Centurions by going over the line from dummy half and following it by intercepting Brown’s pass to dive in under the posts, converting the second try.
As the Eagles pressed for a consolation try Brierley went the length of the field for his second try to add to the Eagles agony. Ridyard added his sixth goal.
EAGLES: Laulu-Togagae; Finigan, Yere, Taulapapa, Morrison; Brown, Brambani; Howieson, Andrew Henderson, Stringer, Knowles, Hirst. McDonald. Subs: Turner, Szostak, Green, Higgins.
Tries: Knowles, Laulu-Togage
Goals: Brown 2/2