Leigh Centurions 22 Workington Town 12
THE match was not befitting of the occasion at the weekend.
While off the field Leigh Centurions can declare their Heritage Day a success with a good mix of former players and hundreds of children from local sports clubs swelling the attendance to 3,375, on the field it was a different matter.
Yes, Centurions won their 24th game of an outstanding league campaign; yes, they claimed four tries and looked stronger than their opponents.
But with Workington coming to spoil the party it led to a slow, frustrating game and once the rains swept in at half time, the errors started to mount up.
From the outset Workington attacked Centurions, winning a drop out from the kick off and then holding possession and territory for the first five minutes.
It was certainly a wake-up call.
Scotland international Brett Carter was one of several players to go close to registering points.
Leigh defended well and held their nerve before Tom Armstrong saw a seventh minute effort chalked off.
With Jake Emmitt in good form, it was only a matter of time before Leigh took the lead and in the 12th minute his pass sent Sam Hopkins striding through and Ryan Brierley took the inside pass to sail clear. Martyn Ridyard added the first of three goals and Leigh led 6-0.
That advantage lasted all of three minutes as a determined Town hit back quickly.
Burke was sent through a hole in the defence and then turned the ball inside for Forber to go under the posts for his ninth try of the season. The half-back levelled matters with the kick.
The sides went at it hammer and tongues for the remainder of the first half before two tries in seven minutes before half time put Leigh 10 points clear.
First Adam Higson finished well at the right corner after an acrobatic pass from Michael Platt and a lovely back-handed offloadf from Kurt Haggerty. Ridyard's goal attempt drifted wide.
Then, with the seconds ticking down, Workington knocked on and Leigh attacked from a scrum with Gregg McNally working an overlap for Liam Kay to score on the left.
This time Ridyard was on target and Leigh led 16-6.
A big downpour during half time made handling difficult and both teams struggled with only the kicking of Peter Lupton and Ridyard winning any advantage.
Debutant Johnny Walker saw a pass intercepted by Workington as Leigh looked to build pressure but classy link-up play followed with Ridyard sending Brierley to the line for his 38th try of the season.
At 22-6 Leigh looked like they might go on to secure the game but when Gregg McNally was flattened by a suspected shoulder charge by Connor Farrell, Leigh lost their full back and with it some of their attacking structure.
With injuries already sustained to Anthony Bate and Martin Aspinwall, this gave head coach Paul Rowley little room to manoeuvre.
Workington battled to score a second try of their own when a bobbling kick was controlled and grounded by Jason Mossop for Forber to nudge home the conversion.
Leigh fashioned a couple of further chances but loose hands cost them with Lupton picking up an intercept on one occasion and the visitors cover defence snuffing out almost certain scores for Kay and Haggerty.
In the end, Leigh had to settle for their 10-point win while the bonus point for the visitors ensures a return to the Sports Village for Workington next year.
Leigh: McNally; Higson, Platt, Armstrong, Kay; Riyard, Brierley; Emmitt, Penkywicz, Hopkins, Sarsfield, Haggerty, Wilkes. Subs: Beswick, Walker, Bate, Aspinwall.