Leigh Centurions 42

Sheffield Eagles 38

LIAM Hood played Leigh’s get out of jail card to perfection, completing a memorable comeback with a last minute, match winning try.

With nine minutes remaining Centurions trailed by 14 points having also recovered from an eight-point deficit at the break.

It looked likely Ryan Brierley’s own comeback was destined to end in defeat against Leigh’s top five rivals.

Instead, John Duffy’s side dredged up commendable levels of energy to steal the points with tries from James Laithwaite, Josh Eaves and ultimately Hood, all improved by Martyn Ridyard.

A game of 14 tries was ultimately settled by Ridyard’s goal kicking.

Both teams touched down seven times but while Eagles managed only five goals, Ridyard booted seven out of seven to ensure victory.

Leigh’s latest league win was their third in a row- a run not previously achieved this year.

It also lifted Duffy’s men up to fourth though only two points separate third placed Eagles and eighth placed Halifax.

And it sent Leigh into a well-earned weekend off before a return to action against Widnes Vikings at Summer Bash.

“There are lots of teams that don’t play for the jersey any more in rugby league,” said proud Duffy.

“That’s something I wanted to bring back here.

“The lads have all shown they want to play for Leigh and the fans have bought into that.

“I thought second half, especially, the fans were superb.

“To come through and show the spirit we did at the end was absolutely amazing.

“The lads have got to commend themselves for their efforts in the first half of the season.

“And there’s loads more still in us.”

Andy Thornley gave Leigh an ideal start, touching down after five minutes.

But Eagles, beaten by their hosts in last month’s Challenge Cup, shrugged off James Davey’s sin binning and Gregg McNally’s 28th minute try to lead at the break.

Aaron Brown had already scored when Ben Blackmore, Ryan Miller and James Glover crossed the home line in quick succession before the interval.

After Duffy’s strong interval talking to Centurions responded with Brierley going over and Iain Thornley maintaining his fine recent scoring form.

Eagles though weren’t finished and stunned Leigh with three tries in 10 minutes from: Anthony Thackeray (2) and James Meadows. Pat Walker, taking over kicking duties from Glover, kicked all three conversions.

A sixth Championship defeat of the season loomed. Instead, Laithwaite, Eaves and then Hood, plus Ridyard’s boot, saved the day.

Match stats:

Leigh Centurions:Brierley; McNally, I. Thornley, A. Thornley, Higginson; Ridyard, Woods; Douglas, Higham, Brooks; Adamson, Laithwaite; Cator; substitutes: Hood, Eaves, Emmitt, Spencer.

Tries: A Thornley (5), McNally (28), Brierley (43), I Thornley (45), Laithwaite (70), Eaves (75), Hood (79).

Goals: Ridyard 7/7

Sheffield Eagles: Guzdek; Millar, Glover, Ogden, Blackmore; Meadows, Thackeray; Moran, Davey, James; Davies, Farrell; Brown; substitutes: Walker, Broadbent, Esslemont, Knowles.

Tries: Brown (20), Blackmore (34), Millar (36), Glover (39), Thackeray (54, 64), Meadows (59).

Goals: Glover (2), Walker (3)

Referee: Tom Grant

Half-time: 12-20

Attendance: 3,031