Cougars draw a blank at Leigh

Andy Shickell worked tirelessly up front in a losing cause

Andy Shickell worked tirelessly up front in a losing cause

First published in Sport
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Leigh Centurions 30, Keighley Cougars 0

THE Cougars' relegation fears increased after a third straight loss as Leigh bounced back from their first defeat of the season to run in five unanswered tries.

The runaway Kingstone Press Championship leaders were stunned by Doncaster last week but they wasted no time in getting back on track as Tom Armstrong, Robert Beswick and Oliver Wilkes all touched down inside 25 minutes.

Gregg McNally and Martyn Ridyard, who also kicked all five goals, finished off the rout in the second half to give Leigh their 19th win of the season and stretch their lead to 13 points at the top of the table.

It was a disappointing Saturday evening for Paul March's side, who must start to rediscover their form if they are to avoid being dragged into a relegation dogfight as the business end of the season approaches.

The Cougars struggled badly in attack, despite the efforts of stand-off Danny Jones and tireless work-rate of prop Andy Shickell up front.

Leigh led in the ninth minute when half-backs Ridyard and Ryan Brierley combined to send Armstrong down the left channel before he cut inside to score by the posts.

Ridyard added the first of his five conversions – and in the 17th minute the Centurions struck again when Beswick went over from close range at the play the ball on the fifth tackle.

After Wilkes went over for the home side's third try in the 23rd minute, the floodgates looked set to open.

But Keighley refused to buckle and began asking some questions of the Centurions' defence, with James Haley going agonisingly close.

Nevertheless, the mediocre fare continued from both sides in the second half until a superb attack from the Centurions saw them take a 24-0 lead.

The Cougars lost the ball 40 metres from their own line and Armstrong raced down the wing and chipped the ball for McNally to touch down in style.

In the 68th minute, Beswick made a great break and passed outside to the supporting Ridyard, who raced under the posts, before his final conversion gave him a personal haul of 14 points.

The Cougars are back in action on Sunday when they tackle Doncaster at Cougar Park.

Leigh: McNally 7, Higson 7, Pitman 7, Armstrong 7, Kay 7, Ridyard 7, Brierley 7, Wilkes 7, Beswick 7, Emmett 8, Sarsfield 7, Haggerty 7, Barlow 7. Interchange: Penkywicz 6, Aspinwall 7, Hopkins 7, Acton 7.

Cougars: Craven 6, Barnett 6, Lawton 6, Haley 6, White 6, Jones 7, March 6, Shickell 8, Feather 6, Hesketh 6, Pursglove 6, Rawlins 6, Lindsay 6. Interchange: Lynam 6, Sagar 6, Law 6, Cherryholme 6.

Referee: Adam Gill.

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