Bulldogs suffer defeat at high flying Leigh

Half-back Louis Jouffret scored a try and kicked two goal in Batley's 48-12 defeat away to Leigh Centurions last Sunday. Picture: Paul Butterfield
Half-back Louis Jouffret scored a try and kicked two goal in Batley's 48-12 defeat away to Leigh Centurions last Sunday. Picture: Paul Butterfield

Batley Bulldogs slipped to a 48-12 defeat away to Betfred Championship play-off hopefuls Leigh Centurions last Sunday.

Leigh needed the win to maintain their challenge for a top five finish, while defeat sees Batley remain in 10th place, four points above second-bottom Barrow with five league games remaining.

It shows Leigh’s intent to challenge for a place in Super League that they were able to make three signings in the build up to last week’s visit of Batley.

Junior Sa’u and Mitch Clark both made their Leigh debuts, while Adam Higson returned for a third spell with the Centurions, who made a flying start with a try inside the opening two minutes.

Ryan Brierley went over for the first score and in doing so reached the 1,000 career points milestone and the stand off added the first of his six goals.

Joe Cator received treatment for a cut head but was declared fit to continue and the loose forward was on hand to collect a pass from Micky Higham, who dummied his way through from acting half-back to set up the Centurions second try.

Brierley tagged on the goal and Leigh were 12-0 ahead after only nine minutes.

Batley looked to respond and from one attack, a dangerous kick was well collected by Adam Higson, who was then tackled in the air as the Centurions received a pressure relieving penalty.

Higham was involved in Leigh’s next try as he again darted from acting half-back before sending St Helens loanee Luke Douglas over for a try between the posts, which Brierley improved.

Leigh grabbed a fourth try in the opening quarter as they moved play wide and Iain Thornley jinked past two Bulldogs defenders to touch down, with Brierley again converting for a 24-0 lead.

Batley responded well and had their best spell of the game, resulting in two tries in the build up to half-time.

The Bulldogs had their own debutant in second row man Sam Walters and he pulled a 32nd minute try back as he broke through and rounded full-back Gregg McNally to score with Louis Jouffret converting.

Sam Wood then capitalised after Leigh knocked on as he scooped the ball up and sent Jouffret racing away to score between the posts and give himself a simple goal.

However, Josh Woods crossed for the home side on the stroke of half-time to send Leigh into the break leading 30-12.

Batley kept Leigh at bay at the start of the second half but a dropped pass was gathered by Thornley, who raced 60 metres for his second try.

There was a late flurry of tries as Batley tired with Higham crossing and Brierley converting, before Stefan Marsh bagged an unconverted try in the 79th minute.

There was still time for Brierley to cap a memorable afternoon personally as he picked up a loose ball after the hooter had sounded and raced away from inside his own half to score.