1895 Cup final: Featherstone Rovers 16 Leigh Centurions 30
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Leigh avenged their Betfred Championship defeat from early in the season and struck a psychological blow in the battle for promotion to Super League, which is likely to be decided by a showdown between the same teams in the million pound match.
Both sides led twice in an end-to-end first half which ended all square, but Leigh dominated after the break and a spell of 12 points in 10 minutes during the third quarter left Rovers with too much to do.
Both teams made a series of errors in a scrappy contrast, but Leigh - scored five tries to two and were deserved winners.
All Rovers’ points were scored by Craig Hall, through a brace of tries, three penalties and a conversion.
Both teams are used to blowing opponents away, but Leigh coped better when put under pressure.
Rovers went ahead early on the first of Hall’s penalty goals, but Leigh struck back with a brilliant try on seven minutes.
Ben Reynolds kicked to Leigh’s left and Krisnan Inu rose above Luke Briscoe to make the catch and then reached over through an attempted tackle by Joey Leilua.
Inu added a touchline conversion
Featherstone aren’t used to being behind, but they responded within five minutes when Hall went over from Mark Kheirallah’s pass and then added the extras from wide out to restore their two-point advantage.
The same player doubled that with his second penalty of the game, but Legh were back in front just after the half hour.
Hall was tackled into touch 20 metres from Rovers’ line and, following the handover, Reynolds threw a dummy and stepped through the line for a try which Inu improved.
Six minutes before the break, Leigh failed to find touch with a penalty, were caught offside in the subsequent set and Hall booted his third penalty to level the scores at 12-12.
Leigh loose-forward John Asiata knocked on as he tried to stretch over early in the second half, but an Inu penalty on 47 minutes edged Centurions ahead for the third time.
Former Australia and New South Wales winger Blake Ferguson extended Leigh’s lead soon afterwards with an unconverted try from Caleb Aekins long pass and they were 12 points ahead within moments when man of the match Edwin Ipape stepped through for a brilliant solo score, which Inu improved.
Rovers missed a series of chances on their right side before Hall grabbed his second try, from Junior Moors’ pass with 10 minutes left, to give them a glimmer of hope.
Crucially, Hall’s kick went wide leaving Rovers two scores adrift and Leigh sealed the win two minutes from time when Kheirallah - who was Featherstone's best player - tried to shepherd Joe Mellor’s kick dead, but Sam Stone nipped in to touch down and Inu added the extras to complete the scoring.