Batley Bulldogs were unable to spoil the Leigh Centurions promotion party as they slipped to a 42-24 defeat last Saturday.
Over 10,500 spectators packed into the Leigh Sports Village after the Centurions gave away free tickets for the match following their confirmed promotion to Super League.
Batley matched the full-time Centurions for much of the first half and were deservedly level after 25 minutes before the home side took a grip on the game scoring four tries either side of half-time.
Batley took a ninth minute lead when they moved play left before the ball was slipped inside to Dave Scott and the full-back showed an excellent turn of pace to race through a gap and over for a try wide out. Patch Walker added a fine conversion.
Fui Fui Moi Moi hit back for Leigh when he gathered Liam Hood’s pass and crashed over next to the posts, with Lee Smith landing the simple goal to level.
Leigh came again and Hood kept the ball alive, flipping a pass out of a tackle close to the line.
Travis Burns continued the move before Hood’s long pass gave winger Adam Higson chance to dive in at the corner, with Smith again converting.
Batley replied in style and having taken play close to the line, Alistair Leak sold a dummy from acting half-back and ducked under a tackle to score, with Walker’s goal levelling matters at 12-12.
Cory Paterson charged through a gap for Leigh’s third try before Lewis Paterson bounced off a defender and held off two more tacklers to plant the ball down.
Smith converted both tries and Leigh led 24-12 at half-time.
Burns met a pass at pace to crash over early in the second half and Smith’s conversion ended any realistic hopes of a Batley fight back.
Ben Reynolds produced a neat kick left and Matt Dawson palmed the ball back inside for Willie Tonga to gather and dart over in the corner, with Smith maintaining his 100 per cent record with the boot.
To Batley’s credit, they battled back in style and having taken play close to the Leigh line, Leak stabbed the ball between the posts and Keegan Hirst pounced to score, with Walker converting.
Paterson was tackled close to the line before Dayne Weston crashed over for Leigh’s seventh try, which Smith again improved.
Batley had the final word with a cracking last minute try as Leak, Walker and Sam Smeaton linked superbly to move play right and feed Wayne Reittie, who beat a man, cut inside and raced over for his 15th try of the season, which Walker converted.