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It was fifth v second when Batley Bulldogs welcomed Leigh Centurions to slope at The Foxes Biscuits Stadium as round 11 of the Betfred Championship concluded in front of the Premier Sports cameras.

The Bulldogs entered the match unbeaten in their last five games, having drawn one game when they became the only team in the league to take a point off Featherstone back in March. Leigh's only loss in the  past six weeks was to Super League club Hull KR in the sixth round of the Challenge Cup.

Leigh kicked off down the hill while the hosts had first use of the ball - faced with the challenge of carring it 100m up the field and up nine feet in altitude in the first half. The Bulldogs were the first to make a mistake though, when Johnny Campbell knocked on trying to collect a high kick in the corner.

To spare his blushes, Leigh's Krisnan Inu lost the ball as he dived over the line at the end of that set. 

On a wet and windy night, losing posession of a greasy ball was a feature of the opening exchanges for both sides.

On nine minutes though, Inu ran onto a kick over the top of the Batley defence - but from an offside position which meant his second attempt to open the scoring was chalked off.

But five minutes later, the Centurions broke the deadlock with a sweeping movement across the line. Smooth hands from Caleb Aekins and Ed Chamberlain saw a pass out to the wing where Keanan Brand collected the ball just behind him and darted into the corner. Inu kicked the conversion and the visitors had a 6-0 lead

Leigh scored again when a repeat of the move saw Brand score in the same corner, again goaled by Inu for two tries in two minutes and a 12-0 lead.

With 20 minutes of the half left, the Bulldogs were struggling to get up the hill, regularluy kicking from within their own 40m.

Hooker Aaron Smith was the next to score for Leigh, charging over from dummy half and beating a retreating Batley defence to score despite the attention of three defenders.

He suffered a cut in scoring, though and was promptly taken to the dressing room for stitches to his forhead.

Inu made no mistake with his easiest kick of the night and the Centurions had racked up 18 points, while the Bulldogs had yet to trouble the scoreboard.

But Batley showed that they were a threat on a pitch they know well, forcing a goal-line drop out. They just couldn't secure a score.

Then when Batley knocked in in their own 20m, Leigh moved the ball rapidly out to the right straight from the scrum and Brand's hat-trick try was a formality on 33 minutes. This time, though, Inu's conversion attempt went across the face of the goal and the score stayed at 0-22.

The Centurions were making the most of the advantage that playing downhill with the wind at their backs offered them. Rolling forward on every set with their big men - especially Ben Nakubuwai and Edwin Ipape – charging up the middle and making yards on almost every carry.

And it paid off when Ipape ran from dummy-half to power over between the sticks. Inu slotted over an easy conversion and the score stood at 0-28 with the half-time hooter looming. And it stayed there as the players went into the  changing rooms.

Players who have experienced it say that playing downhill at the Mount Pleasant ground is worth 16 points - Leigh had almost doubled that and it was the hosts who would have a metaphorical mountain to climb in the second half, despite playing downhill.

The change in slope, though made little impression on the opening exchanges, with Batley starting sets on or around their 10m line as Leigh continued to press and kick well.

A penalty helped the Bulldogs down the hill and to a repeat set – only for fullback Luke Hooley to knock-on when fielding the drop-out. But it was Leigh who continued to out muscle their opponents and the challenges of the pitch.

And after 20 minutes of stout defence, it was the Centurions who broke the second-half deadlock.

Loose foward John Asiata beat the Bulldogs defence and passed inside to half back Joe Mellor, who sprinted 20m to score the half's opening try. Inu converted and the score moved on to 0-34 in favour of the visitors.

Two minutes later, Ben Reynolds reached the Batley line and was tackled as he crossed it. But as he went to ground he offloaded to Joe Wardle to his left who had the simplest tryscoring job of the night – falling forward to ground the ball for four points.

Inu's conversion was almost a formality and Leigh led 0-40.

As the game entered it's last 10 minutes, Batley conceded a scrum in their own 10m. Leigh went to the short side to Inu, who ran through to score the try he had been denied twice in the opening minutes.

He goaled his own conversion and the score approached the half-century at 0-46.

Ipape duly brought up the 50 when he broke from dummy half again, ran through the marker defence and rounded the full back to run 40 metres and score under the post. Inu's conversion made it 0-52 with just three minutes to go.

The Bulldogs defence still had tiime to hold up Nene McDonald in the corner though, not that Leigh stopped knocking on the Batley door. But time ran out and the final hooter sounded without another score.

Leigh had planted their flag on the Batley hill in style, and set mouths watering for their 1895 Cup Final showdown with league leaders Featherstone  in just under two weeks.

Full Time: 0-52

Half Time: 0-28

Score progression: 0-4, 0-6, 0-10, 0-12, 0-16, 0-18, 0-22, 0-26, 0-28. HT. 0-32, 0-34, 0-38, 0-40, 0-44, 0-46, 0-52. FT.

Batley Bulldogs: Hooley; Johnson, Hodson, Buchanan, Campbell; White, Gilmore; Gledhill, Kaye, Reilly, Manning, Senior, Blake. Substitutes: Brown, Whiteley, Ward, Meadows.

Leigh Centurions: Aekins; Inu (T, 6G), MacDonald, Chamberlain, Brand (3T); Reynolds, Mellor (T); Sidlow, Smith (T), Amone, Wardle (T), Stone, Asiata. Substitutes: O'Donnel, Nakubuwai, Ioane, Ipape (2T).

Referee: Ben Thaler.

Venue: The Fox's Biscuit Stadium, Batley.




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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Mon 16th May 2022 9:54 PM | Views : 12533 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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TABLES:
Matches on TV
Sun 25th Sep
CH RND: 29
14:00
Leigh-York
CH RND: 29
16:00
Featherstone-Batley
Sun 2nd Oct
NRL RND: 29
09:30
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Sat 15th Oct
WC2022 RND: 1
14:30
England-Samoa
WC2022 RND: 1
19:30
Australia-Fiji
Sun 16th Oct
WC2022 RND: 1
17:00
Jamaica-Ireland
WC2022 RND: 1
19:30
New Zealand-Lebanon
WC2022 RND: 1
14:30
Scotland-Italy
Mon 17th Oct
WC2022 RND: 1
19:30
France-Greece
Tue 18th Oct
WC2022 RND: 1
19:30
Tonga-Papua NG
Wed 19th Oct
WC2022 RND: 1
19:30
WALES-Cook Islands
Fri 21st Oct
WC2022 RND: 2
19:30
Australia-Scotland
Sat 22nd Oct
WC2022 RND: 2
14:30
Fiji-Italy
WC2022 RND: 2
17:00
England-France
WC2022 RND: 2
19:30
New Zealand-Jamaica
Sun 23rd Oct
WC2022 RND: 2
14:30
Lebanon-Ireland
WC2022 RND: 2
17:00
France-Greece
Mon 24th Oct
WC2022 RND: 2
19:30
Tonga-WALES
Tue 25th Oct
WC2022 RND: 2
19:30
Papua NG-Cook Islands
Fri 28th Oct
WC2022 RND: 3
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New Zealand-Ireland
Sat 24th Sep
NRL RND: 28 Penrith32-12Souths
SL RND: 30 Leeds12-24St.Helens
Fri 23rd Sep
NRL RND: 28 NQL Cowboys20-24Parramatta
Sun 18th Sep
WSL2022PO RND: 2 YorkW4-12LeedsW
CH RND: 28 Barrow8-18Batley
CH RND: 28 Halifax24-26York
L1 RND: 24 Swinton32-12Doncaster
Sat 17th Sep
SL RND: 29 St.Helens19-12Salford
NRL RND: 27 Cronulla12-38Souths
L1 RND: 24 Crusaders20-36Rochdale
Fri 16th Sep
SL RND: 29 Wigan8-20Leeds
NRL RND: 27 Parramatta40-4Canberra
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred Championship 2022 ROUND : 27
 PLDFADIFFPTS
Leigh 27 1306 208 1098 52
Featherstone 27 1058 468 590 47
Halifax 27 837 440 397 40
Barrow 27 759 587 172 37
Batley 27 738 551 187 36
York 27 677 596 81 36
 
Sheffield 27 699 660 39 24
Widnes 27 567 679 -112 24
Bradford 27 521 675 -154 22
Whitehaven 27 488 854 -366 19
LondonB 27 548 740 -192 17
Newcastle 27 559 877 -318 15
Dewsbury 27 385 964 -579 7
Workington 27 296 1139 -843 2
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred League One 2022 ROUND : 20
 PLDFADIFFPTS
Keighley 18 843 154 689 36
Crusaders 18 668 332 336 30
Swinton 18 737 281 456 28
Doncaster 18 618 392 226 26
Rochdale 18 646 451 195 24
Hunslet 18 475 462 13 17
 
Oldham 18 535 473 62 15
Midlands 18 458 632 -174 10
LondonS 18 362 705 -343 10
Cornwall 19 274 782 -508 2
West Wales 19 154 1106 -952 2
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Betfred Super League XXVII ROUND : 27
 PLDFADIFFPTS
St.Helens 27 674 374 300 42
Wigan 27 818 483 335 38
Huddersfield 27 613 497 116 35
Catalans 27 539 513 26 32
Leeds 27 577 528 49 29
Salford 27 700 602 98 28
 
Castleford 27 544 620 -76 26
Hull KR 27 498 608 -110 24
Hull FC 27 508 675 -167 22
Wakefield 27 497 648 -151 20
Warrington 27 568 664 -96 18
Toulouse 27 421 745 -324 10
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Penrith 23 628 353 275 38
Cronulla 23 535 348 187 34
Melbourne 23 704 388 316 32
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Sydney 23 611 416 195 28
Souths 23 588 448 140 28
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St.George 23 445 559 -114 22
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