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Facing Wigan Warriors on the back of their first defeat in fifteen games is never ideal, but when you are Adrian Lam’s Leigh Leopards who are looking desperately for a win then it is doubly difficult as the two sides met for the first ‘Battle of the Borough’ in 2024.

A win by four points or more would put Wigan back to the top of the pile with a game in hand, a win for the Leopard wouldn’t improve their league position but would edge them a little further away from potential danger.

The bookies weren’t expecting a runaway win as the Leopards edge closer to their first win of the season, and they only gave the home side a twelve-point start on the handicap coupon, expecting that it might be a closer affair than many commentators and tipsters.

After being gifted a penalty for lifting on Bevan French, and on the third play Abbas Miski took the pass on the wing and grounded in the right-hand corner. Harry Smith was wide with his conversion attempt from the touchline.

Matt Moylan was sin-binned on eleven for a head contact with mitigating circumstances, Leigh’s problems increasing after a bright start.

On sixteen Willie Isa chased and collected a Bevan French grubber to score his first try for three years and when Harry Smith found the target with his conversion it was 10-0 to the Warriors.

Bevan French opportunistically chased his own kick on twenty-six and when Ricky Leutele made an awful attempt to bat the ball dead in goal, French was on hand to collect the bouncing ball and ground. Smith was off target with his conversion attempt, Wigan 14-0 ahead and edging away from Leigh.

Within two minutes Kruise Leeming broke from dummy half and found the supporting Smith to go in under the sticks. Smith converted his own try and Leigh hit twenty.

Eight minutes before he interval Leutele made up for his earlier error when he got Leigh on the board when he picked up a Josh Charnley dribble to collect and ground. Moylan added the conversion, the home side back within fourteen of the Champions.

Moylan missed a penalty in the dying seconds, Leigh fourteen adrift at the interval.

A lightening fast Jai Field got Wigan’s second half off to a perfect start after a poor attacking kick from Gareth O’Brien was collected by Harry Smith who passed to the flying full back to sprint ninety metres to score.  Smith added the conversion for 26-6.

On fifty minutes French had a try denied as he was unable to ground the ball over the line. A minute later Adam Keighran was on hand to slide over in the right corner, the game now over with Wigan going top of the table. Smith was wide with his conversion attempt.

The seventh try came of fifty-six as Wigan cut loose, this time it was Junior Nsemba taking a Smith pass and going round Lachlan Lam to ghost over. Smith was again on target for a thirty-point lead.

There was some respite on the hour when Charnley was on the end of a right to left passing move to dive in at the corner. Moylan was on target with a touchline conversion.

But it was brief respite as Liam Marshall went over on sixty-five, after delightful hands from Wigan as they moved the ball to the left wing. Smith was wide with the attempted conversion, but it was of no consequence to the outcome.

Leigh were never in the game with their scores coming against the general run of play which for the large part was one-directional towards the Leigh line. Wigan seemed able to score at will and ran up forty points to banish all thoughts of their Good Friday loss against Saints as they jumped above them to the top of the table. Another week, another loss for Leigh as they suffer at the bottom of the table.

Leigh Leopards: O’Brien, Hanley, Hardaker, Leutele (T), Charnley (T), Moylan (G, SB on 11), Lam, Norman, McNamara, Trout, O’Donnell, Halton, Hughes.  Subs: Nakubuwai, Davis Dwyer, Chamberlain. 18th Man: Baxter.

Wigan Warriors: Field (T), Miski (T), Keighran (T), Wardle, Marshall (T), French (T), Smith (T, 4G), Hill, O’Neill, Thompson, Isa (T), Farrell. Ellis.  Subs: Mago, Chan, Leeming, Nsemba (T). 18th Man: Eckersley.

Half-Time: 6-20.

Full-Time: 10-40.

Score Progression: 0-4, (SB), 0-8, 0-10, 0-14, 0-18, 0-20, 4-20, 6-20 : HT: 6-24, 6-26, 6-30, 6-34, 6-36, 10-36, 10-40 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: Wigan.

Referee: Jack Smith.



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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 4th Apr 2024 9:51 PM | Views : 6491 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES