23 years service to
the Rugby League

Round 3 of the Betfred Championship concluded with Leigh Centurions, who lost to Featherstone on TV last week, hosting a Bradford Bulls outfit looking to bounce back after losing to Sheffield.

The Bulls experienced pre-match disruption when Leeds recalled on-loan half-back Corey Johnson, giving Chester Butler his first game, from the bench, in two years.

After a solid opening set, Bradford put themselves on the back foot, giving away a penalty for a high tackle on their first defensive set and inviting Leigh to march down into the Bulls' half.

Fortunately for the visitors, that set ended with a Centurions knock-on.

After a fairly even opening seven minutes where the teams went set-for-set and end to end, Leigh got another penalty and smooth hands moved the ball across the park to the right wing, where Ed Chamberlain ran on to it and flicked it out to Keenan Brand, who dotted down in the corner.

Ben Reynolds couldn't convert and the score stood at 4-0 to the advantage of the hosts.

To add to the Bulls' woes, on the next attack Ant Walker was guilty of a high tackle to John Asiata's head and left the field for a 10-minute break.

But they were next to threaten a score on 17 minutes, when a Billy Jowitt break up the middle brought them within 10 metres, where they won a penalty for offside, which they tapped.

Smart movement then saw centre Kieran Gill power over on the left to take the score to 4-4. Declan Patton's kick was wide, but the 12-man team had equalised against their 13-strong hosts.

But it was Leigh who were putting on sustained pressure up to and after the half-hour mark as Bradford gave away penalties and made unforced errors.

As they pressed the Bulls' line, Calem Aekens put in a superb short pass to Ed Chamberlain, who strolled over for an 8-4 lead. On a night of missed kicks, Reynolds' conversion attempt was wide again.

Leigh looked likely to increase their lead with a superb break by Aekins, but when he was tackled over-excitement led to an incorrect play-the-ball and a handover. So when the hooter sounded for half-time, 8-4 was where the score stood.

The second half was just five minutes old when debutant Jy Hitchcox added the next score for Leigh, after Bradford gave away a silly penalty for a late hit on the kicker, even though David Foggin-Johnston had cleaned up the high kick.

Once more there was no conversion, and the score now stood at 12-4.

Mark Ioane was next to cross on 55 minutes, when Joe Mellor broke the Bradford line and offloaded to Ioane who had space in front of him. And - for the first time in the game - a conversion was kicked, with Rynolds adding the extras for an 18-4 lead.

As the match entered the final quarter, the signs were looking ominous for Bradford, whose players showed an obvious lack of energy.

And on 64 minutes, Brand took advantage of a clear advantage over the Bradford defence which failed to number up on the right and dived over for his second try a 22-4 score. Normal service was resumed from the kicking tee and there were no extras.

Nene Macdonald was the next on the scoreboard for the cherry and whites, powering through three tacklers to ground the ball next to the left touchline. Ed Chamberlain lined up the kick and struck it neatly between the posts.

Leigh now led 28-4.

Dan Norman put the icing on the Centurions' cake when he ran at the line and powered through to take the score score to 32-4. Chamberlain added the extra and the hosts led by 30 points with less than two minutes to go.

Macdonald looked like he was going to add another as  he went on a bullocking run, but play was stopped for an injury to Aaron Smith - who had already undergone one head injury assessment - following a high and dangerous tackle by Foggin-Johnston.

The Bradford winger received a red with just 40 seconds of the game to go. Chamberlain took advantage of the gap in numbers and crossed on the hooter to take his team's score to 38. He didn't kick the conversion though, so the final score remained at 38-4

Score progression: 0-0, 4-0, 4-4, 8-4. Half-time: 8-4, 12-4, 16-4, 18-4, 22-4, 26-4, 28-4, 32-4, 34-4, 38-4.

Half-time: 8-4.

Full Time: 38-4.

Leigh Centurions: Aekens, Hitchcox (T), Chamberlain (2T, 3G), Macdonald (T), Brand (2T); Reynolds, Mellor; Sidlow, Smith, Amone, Wardle, Stone, Asiata. Replacments: Ioane (T), Mcdonnell, Hingano, Norman (T).

Bradford Bulls: Millar; Dawson-Jones, Evans, Gill (T), Foggin-Johnstone (Red 79); Patton, Jowitt; Walker (Yellow 17), Doyle, Crossley, England, Scott, Baldwinson. Replacements: Flanagan, Evans, Wallace, Butler.

Referee: Aaron Moore  

Venue: Leigh Sports Village.

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Posted by tb on Mon 14th Feb 2022 7:03 PM | Views : 15841 | Replies : 12 | BACK TO STORIES