Rugby League: Centurions stand firm against late Dons fight back

Dons Craig Fawcett tackled by Leigh's Simon Finnigan
Dons Craig Fawcett tackled by Leigh's Simon Finnigan

High-flying Leigh Centurions survived a late rally to complete a Championship double over the Dons with an entertaining 36-30 win at the Keepmoat.

There was little to chose between the two sides before Leigh struck twice in as many minutes to lead 12-0. The Dons reduced the deficit on 20 minutes when impressive stand-off Liam Kay, deputising for play-maker Paul Cooke, spotted a gap and raced in from around ten metres out for a try goaled by winger Stu Sanderson.

Simon Finnigan had a try disallowed for a double movement but Leigh extended their lead to 18-6 just before the break with a third converted try by full-back Greg McNally. And when Leigh winger John Pownall dived over in the corner for a fourth converted try on 52 minutes the game looked all but over for the Dons.

But Kay raised their hopes of at least salvaging a losing bonus point with a well-taken converted try five minutes later.

Sanderson again added the extras in addition to converting his own try following some good handling on the hour to close the gap to 24-18.

A well-taken converted try by winger Steve Maden, who gathered his own kick and took advantage of Butterfield being caught in two minds, gave Leigh much-needed breathing space on 66 minutes.

Matt Gardner ensured Leigh’s victory with another converted try ten minutes from time. Lee Waterman rewarded good work by Kay to go over for a converted try five minutes from time to make it 36-24.

Kyle Trout went over in the 78th minute for a fifth Doncaster try as they claimed a losing bonus point.

n Dons: Butterfield, Scott, Cowling, Dawson, Sanderson, Kay, Fawcett, Castle, Emmett, Carbutt, Spurr, Robinson, Trout. Subs: Edwards, Waller, Spiers, Waterman.