London Broncos went down to their second defeat of the Easter weekend on Monday at the hands of the rejuvenated Leigh Centurions at the Leigh Sports Village.
Coming off of the back of the loss on Good Friday to Toulouse, the Broncos were looking to putting another mark in the W column as they faced newly relegated Leigh. The rain had abated by the time kick off came around and with the pitch in excellent condition we looked forward to a highly entertaining game of rugby league with two teams that play expansive attractive rugby. We were not disappointed from the off with both sides giving it their all to try and break down the opposition defence.
The Centurions faced an early injury problem as Vaivai was helped from the field with an achilles injury which would put him on crutches after the game. Both teams were determined not to have their lines breached but handling errors from both sets of players were leading from one knock on to another and what seemed a constant stream of goal line dropouts we were still tied on nil. Finally after 24 minutes the deadlock was broken as Leigh hoisted a kick towards the London line. Alex Walker was outjumped and the ball was passed inside to Liam Hood who went over the line for the first score of the day. Ben Reynolds kicked the extras and Leigh were in front by six points to nil.
From the ensuing kick off Leigh fumbled the ball over the dead ball line and London were pressing straight away. The ball continued to switch sides with surprising regularity and it took a big tackle to stop London fullback, Alex Walker, from scoring as he was away from the defence only to knock on inches from the try line. London did not give up, however, and their persistence paid off after 38 minutes with a lovely move starting in the middle with the ball moving out to Jarrod Sammut who flipped the ball up behind his back for the on-running Elliot Kear to collect and score in the corner for the first Broncos try of the day. The conversion was good and at the break we were all square at six points a piece.
The rain turned up during the halftime break and the players were welcomed by a downpour for the start of the second half. London knocked on with almost their first touch of the ball and within 2 minutes of the restart Jordan Thompson had the home fans on their feet by going over under the posts and 10 minutes later Leigh were two scores clear as captain Harrison Hansen danced through two missed tackles to again score under the posts
The impressive Jay Pitts and James Cunningham combined in the 56th minute as Pitts broke the Leigh Line and the hooker broke away from the chasing pack to touch down under the posts for the Broncos to finish off a flowing move. Sammut, who kicked all three of his conversions, added the extras and Broncos seemed to see a chink of light but Kieron Purtill’s side were hungry for more and a clever sneak from dummy half gave Liam Hood his second of the afternoon and Leigh their fourth.
With ten minutes left to play Leigh went through the hands to outnumber the Broncos wide and Drew Hutchison went over on a last tackle play to put Leigh firmly in command.
Broncos had been undone again but on the final hooter Matty Gee slid over for a consolation try with the reliable Sammut kicking through the posts again. Leigh Centurions recorded their fourth win on the bounce and Broncos stared their second defeat in four days firmly in the face.
Danny Ward’s men will now need to regroup and come out fighting next week as they face another away game at fellow 2017 qualifiers Halifax RLFC.
Leigh Centurions: Peter Matautia; Matty Dawson-Jones, Ben Crooks, Craig Hall, Rhys Evans; Ben Reynolds, Drew Hutchison; Paterika Vaivai, Micky Higham, Nathan Mason, Harrison Hansen, Bodene Thompson, Jordan Thompson. Interchange: Liam Hood, Jordan Dezaeria, Jamie Acton, Kyle Lovett.
Tries: Hood (25, 64), J Thompson (42), Hansen (52), Hutchison (72);
Goals: Reynolds 5/ 5; Hall 0/ 1;
London Broncos: Alex Walker; Elliott Kear, Will Lovell, Ben Hellewell, Rhys Williams; James Meadows, Jarrod Sammut; Tom Spencer, James Cunningham, , Mark Ioane, Matty Gee, Jay Pitts, Matt Davis. Interchange: Sam Davis, Eddie Battye, Robert Butler, Lewis Bienek.
Tries: Kear (35), Cunningham (56), Gee (80);
Goals: Sammut 3/ 3.