DEWSBURY RAMS made Leigh work hard to continue their unbeaten start to the season – losing 28-12 despite playing the entire second half with 12 men, writes John Anderson.
The Rams made a bright start and found themselves leading 8-0 as the first half ticked into it’s final minutes.
Dewsbury’s Matthew Haggerty put a late shot in on Martin Ridyard and – despite being similar to a Leigh offence which was put on report – the referee pulled out a red card.
The two coaches had to be separated on the touchline and as the players headed down the tunnel for half-time, tensions threatened to boil over.
Dewsbury coach Glenn Morrison was visibly upset with the decision and he said: “I think the best side lost. Everyone who was at the game knows why we lost.
“I’m proud of the way my players responded to last week’s defeat but I’m disappointed that the game was taken out of our hands when we should have 13 players on the pitch and they should have 12.”
The game started in a scrappy fashion with high winds and a wet ball not making free flowing rugby easy.
Leigh survived an early attack after a Keiran Hyde 40/20 but weren’t as lucky in the 12th minute when Hyde intercepted a loose pass and ran 80 metres to score. Jordan Grayston added the extras and Dewsbury led 6-0.
Grayston missed with a penalty attempt from 40 metres, but succeeded with a much easier attempt to give the Rams an 8-0 lead with seven minutes of the half remaining.
Then came the flashpoint as Haggerty was dismissed. Dewsbury went into the break with an 8-0 lead but a player down.
And it took Leigh just two minutes in the second half to exploit their numerical advantage. Great hands from Ridyard and McNally created the overlap and Kay touched down in the corner.
A lovely interchange of passes between Ryan Brierley and Tommy Goulden saw Brierley skirt round the outside of Dewsbury’s defence to score. Ridyard was on target this time and Leigh led 10-8.
Dewsbury could have had a try of their own as Grayston caught a Keiran Hyde kick but wonderful defence from Leigh somehow kept him out.
And in the 57th minute, the outstanding Sean Penkywicz threw an outrageous dummy which fooled the Rams defence before he put Tom Spencer in under the posts.
And just minutes later Penkyvic was at it again when he kicked a 40/20 which gave Leigh the field position to allow Kurt Haggerty to burrow over from acting half. Ridyard converted both scores to stretch Leigh’s lead to 22-8.
And with 10 minutes left the game was up for Dewsbury as Sam Hopkins offloaded well and Brierley scored his second of the afternoon.
Leigh then had Haggerty sent to the sin-bin for dissent and it was Dewsbury who had the final say. Good hands from Callan Beckett saw Dale Morton score in the corner.