Batley 12 Leigh 26: Leaders given fright by Bulldogs before edging ill-tempered encounter

Alistair Leak
Alistair Leak
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Batley Bulldogs went close to pulling off a shock win over Kingstone Press Championship leaders Leigh Centurions.

Bulldogs recovered from conceding two early tries as they battled back to lead 12-10. Leigh had Gareth Hock sin-binned for dissent but it was while down to 12 men that they scored three tries in seven minutes to change the game. Adam Higson raced in at the right corner after just two minutes. Martyn Ridyard landed a superb touchline conversion. Leigh’s opposite winger, Liam Kaye, to make it 10-0 after as many minutes. Batley regrouped and had the better of the the remainder of the half.

Wayne Reittie intercepted a pass and raced upfield, outpacing the cover defence before cutting inside to race between the posts. Leatherbarrow converted and Batley had real hope, trailing just 10-6 at half-time.

Alistair Leak burrowed over from acting half-back and Leatherbarrow converted to edge the Bulldogs ahead. Hock was then sin-binned for back chat moments after he was re-introduced from the substitutes bench but it was Leigh who struck with a decisive spell. Higson dived in at the right corner and two minutes later Jake Emmitt stretched for the try line. Ridyard converted.

Higson stepped out of a tackle for his hat-trick try seven minutes from time and Ridyard’s conversion gave the Centurions breathing space.

The game ended on a sour note when a brawl erupted. Tom Lillycrop (Batley) and Jamie Acton (Leigh) were sent off while Hock was sin-binned for a second time before the final hooter confirmed the Centurions 15th win of the season.

Batley: Craven; Reittie, Ainscough, Squires, Brown; Mitchell, Leatherbarrow; Rowe, Blake, Gledhill, Breatherton, Day, Chandler. Subs: Leak, Hesketh, Lillycrop, Thackray.

Leigh: McNally; Higson, Worthington, Armstrong, Kaye; Ridyard, Reynolds; MoiMoi, Beswick, Hock, Dixon, Goulden, Acton. Subs: Higham, Hopkins, Spencer, Emmitt.

Referee: Chris Kendall.

Attendance: 1,125.