Injury hit Batley denied win at Leigh

Alistair Leak was among Batleys try scorers as they were edged out at Leigh Centurions last Sunday.

Alistair Leak was among Batleys try scorers as they were edged out at Leigh Centurions last Sunday.

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Batley Bulldogs produced a terrific effort before Leigh struck late to snatch a 37-30 win in last Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship clash.

The injury ravaged Bulldogs battled from behind and deservedly led going into the latter stages but two tries in the final two minutes denied Batley a league double over the table topping Centurions.

The Bulldogs handed debuts to new signings Dave Peterson and Callum Casey, while centre Greg Minikin also made his first appearance having joined on dual-registration from the Castleford Tigers.

Leigh struck first when Martyn Ridyard’s long pass allowed winger Liam Kay to score in the corner and Ridyard kicked the touchline goal.

Batley forced a repeat set and Shaun Ainsough darted from acting half-back to score, with Dom Brambani’s conversion levelling matters.

Leigh regained the lead when Jamie Acton drew full-back Dave Scott and sent Harrison Hansen over for a try.

Ridyard converted and tagged on a drop goal on the stroke of half-time to give his side a 13-6 interval lead.

Hansen grabbed his second try soon after the restart, with Ridyard again goaling.

Batley forced a drop out and after Scott had taken them close, Alistair Leak sold an outrageous dummy from acting half-back to scoot over, with Brambani converting.

Liam Hood scurried over at the other end and Ridyard’s goal gave his side a 13-point lead before Batley stormed back with three tries in a terrific 13 minute spell.

Brambani’s grubber kick was gathered by Alex Bretherton to score before the scrum-half dummied and side-stepped through the Leigh defence to cross.

Two Brambani goals reduced the lead to a single point before Batley hit the front when Brambani feigned a kick and stepped through before sending James Harrison crashing over.

Brambani added his sixth goal and Batley looked to be on the verge of a magnificent comeback win.

A penalty put Leigh on attack, Dayne Weston’s wayward pass was knocked on and from the free play, Lee Smith chipped over the defence.

Smith’s pace saw him win the race to the ball and touch down before Scott could hit it dead.

Ridyard added the simple goal and Leigh edged 31-30 ahead.

The Centurions sealed victory in the last minute when Richard Whiting set up an attack and Ridyard sent Sam Hopkins through a gap to race over.

Ridyard tagged on his seventh goal and Leigh breathed a huge sigh of relief.