Featherstone 24 Leigh 30: Rovers rally in some style but are pipped at post by Centurions

Referee James Child was kept busy at Featherstone v Leigh.

Referee James Child was kept busy at Featherstone v Leigh.

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INJURY-hit Featherstone’s magnificent fightback fell just short against Championship leaders Leigh.

Rovers recovered from 22-8 down at half-time to level before a nail-biting finish.

Darrell Griffin, AnthonyThackeray and Andy Ellis were outstanding in an incident-packed game in which referee James Child awarded 23 penalties and sin-binned Leigh’s Gareth Hock and Jamie Acton in separate incidents.

Rovers’ Ellis went over from acting half and Kyran Johnson kicked his second goal to put them 8-0 up but Leigh stormed back. After Tom Armstrong grabbed a try, substitute Acton made an immediate impact.

Micky Higham put in Acton for a 25th-minute try and two minutes later his powerful run created a try for Rangi Chase, recalled after eight games.

Featherstone lost young half-back Will Milner with an ankle injury five minutes before half-time. Hock was sin-binned two minutes later.

Leigh stretched their lead to 14 points on the stroke of half-time when Martyn Ridyard hoisted a high kick and Armstrong knocked the ball back for Lee Smith to grab a touchdown. Leigh were reduced to 11 men when Acton was sin-binned early in the second-half and Featherstone quickly capitalised when Ian Hardman put in Bradley Tagg.

Adam Higson then rescued the Centurions with a superb try-saving tackle to foil Liam Blockley before further Rovers pressure saw Thackeray and John Davies combine to send in Misi Taulapapa.

Ridyard kicked a penalty to put Leigh 24-18 ahead but Rovers squared matters in the 59th minute when Johnson crossed at the corner and added a touchline conversion.

But Ridyard’s kick to the corner saw Liam Kay score, and he kicked another penalty to edge Leigh six points ahead.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Johnson, Tagg, Taulapapa, Blockley; Milner, Thackeray; Griffin, Ellis, Bostock, Cording, Davies, Spears. Subs (used): Cooper, Ormondroyd, Baldwinson. Not used: Macdonald.

Leigh Centurions: Smith; Higson, Whiting, Armstrong, Kay; Ridyard, Chase; Hansen, Higham, Weston, Maitua, Hock, Paterson. Subs (all used): Hood, Hopkins, Emmitt, Acton.

Referee: James Child (RFL).

Attendance: 2,731.

Jon Sharp

Coach Jon Sharp eyes hard work on the horizon for Featherstone Rovers