Leigh Centurions 26 Wakefield Trinity 40: Chester relieved to claim win from ‘bizarre’ game

Chris Chester. PIC: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
Chris Chester. PIC: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
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Wakefield coach Chris Chester was relieved to see his side recover from blowing a 20-point lead to beat Leigh.

Leigh hit back to lead briefly before the visitors regained their composure to record a 40-26 victory. Chester pointed to a lack of discipline that allowed the Centurions to make a game of it in Saturday’s encounter.

“It was a bizarre game,” Chester said. “We controlled the ball really well and for about 10-15 minutes I don’t think Leigh touched the ball.

“We deserved the two points but we allowed Leigh back into the game with some poor discipline. Leigh are a good side and we knew they were going to challenge us.

“We are pleased to get a win because this is a tough place to come and the crowd got behind them. It was a game where we had to grind out the win as we suffered a few injuries.”

Wakefield made a whirlwind start and were 20-0 up after only 14 minutes. Matty Ashurst set up Jacob Miller for Wakefield’s first try in the third minute after initial good work by Liam Finn, who also added the conversion.

Wakefield crossed for their second try moments later. Danny Kirmond was able to fend off several would-be tackles on a 15-metre charge. Finn kicked the conversion and also added a penalty in the 11th minute.

And when Wakefield scored a third try in the 14th minute it looked like it was game over for the home side. A long pass was picked out Reece Lynne who raced 60 metres to score.

Leigh got off the mark in the 16th minute. Winger Curtis Naughton was first to react when a loose pass was kicked ahead and he scored under the posts. Three minutes later, Centurions were in again. Second rower Jamie Acton hit Eloi Pelissier’s short pass from close range to score.

A Finn penalty briefly stemmed the tide for Trinity but Leigh finished the half strongly with a third try. Gregg McNally’s pass to the corner gave Matty Dawson the chance to finish well in the corner and although Josh Drinkwater could not add the goal, it meant the half-time deficit was only a converted try.

Leigh continued the fightback after the restart when Dawson scored his second try after taking Ryan Hampshire’s kick to the corner, reducing the Wakefield lead to just two.

They did not have to wait long to take the lead. Again it was Hampshire who created the chance with a kick which was flicked on by Gareth Hock to Naughton and he touched down. Drinkwater’s conversion saw Leigh 26-22 up.

The try, though, served as something of a wake-up call for Wakefield. Centre Joe Arundel finished off a counter attack in the corner and Finn’s goal restored Wakefield’s lead.

Leigh’s chances were further hindered by the 63rd minute sin-binning of Danny Tickle and Wakefield took advantage of their extra man almost immediately. Quick hands to the left side gave winger Mason Caton-Brown a chance to show his pace and he produced a superb dart to the corner.

The visitors wrapped up the win with a second try from Kirmond under the posts and with Finn adding his eighth goal.

Leigh: McNally, Dawson, Crooks, Brown, Naughton, Hampshire, Drinkwater, Hock, Pelissier, Green, Tickle, Hansen, Stewart.Subs: Hood, Burr, Acton, Weston.

Wakefield: Grix, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Arundel, Caton-Brown, Miller, Finn, Huby, Wood, Fifita, Ashurst, Kirmond, Hadley. Subs: B. Tupou, Sio, Arona, Hirst.

Referee: Chris Kendall.

Attendance: 4,938.