A RAMPANT Leigh Centurions began their 2014 Championship campaign in style putting a hapless Batley Bulldogs to the sword with an impressive nine-try display to gain a 52-12 win, writes Simon Mulligan.
The Bulldogs, who ended Leigh's season on their previous visit last September, took the early lead but were ripped apart by an impressive attacking Leigh display, halves Martyn Ridyard and hat-trick scorer Ryan Brierley both instrumental throughout
“I thought we were fantastic today, in every aspect. I'm more than happy and we've sent a clear message to one of our rivals, we're happy to send Batley home empty-handed,” said a satisfied Leigh coach Paul Rowley.
“I think everyone can see how Ryan's developed as a player and he's got a huge future. We saw some aspects in his game which weren't evident in the past and he showed he's not just a support player now, he's a creator.”
It was Batley who took the early lead, Scott Leatherbarrow's cross kick finding Miles Greenwood in space.
However, the home side struck back, Stuart Littler going over from Martyn Ridyard's long pass, after Jake Connor came out the line to hunt the intercept.
Leigh took the lead through Brierley as he went under the posts from Greg McNally's pass after cutting through the Batley defence. Ridyard with the conversion.
The hosts, starting to break the Bulldogs' defence regularly with some expansive play, extended their lead through Bob Beswick's dummy half dart.
And the now rampant Centurions got their fourth try from long-distance as the ball was spread left through Littler and Adam Higson, before the winger found Brierley on his inside to stroll in for his second, Ridyard goaling for a 22-6 half-time lead.
Bulldogs' second-rower Sam Scott thought he had pulled one back for the visitors, but the try was ruled out for a knock-on in the build-up.
It didn't take long for Leigh to find their first-half rhythm once again, a neat move slicing through the defence, Tom Spencer going over under the posts from Brierley's pass.
Jake Connor gave brief hope for the visitors as they caught the Leigh defence out from the scrum.
However, Leigh snuffed out any question of a comeback with a scintillating full-length score set up by Greg McNally's impressive break down the left, winger Adam Higson finishing off under the posts.
Brierley then capped his display completing his hat-trick from Ryan Duffy's offload before Matt Sarsfield became the sixth different Leigh scorer as the home side continued to run riot.
Prop Spencer then added a second try to bring up the half-century, strolling under the posts as the Batley defence was ripped apart once more.
“I'm very disappointed and my biggest concern is that the attitude was very poor, a white flag went up, and that's a big concern,” said Bulldogs coach John Kear.
“We just got cleaned up, we were beaten in every department, we were out-muscled, out-thought and outplayed.”