Rovers and Leigh bash it out in bad-tempered game in Blackpool

Rovers prop Paul Wood received his marching orders against Leigh.
Rovers prop Paul Wood received his marching orders against Leigh.

Twelve-man Featherstone lost 31-12 to unbeaten Championship leaders Leigh Centurions in an ill-tempered clash at the Summer Bash in Blackpool on Sunday.

Rovers made a perfect start with Ben Blackmore’s try after just 97 seconds but experienced prop Paul Wood’s first-half dismissal for alleged gouging left them with a huge task which they were unable to overcome as the Centurions chalked up their 26th consecutive win.

Sam Barlow, Gareth Hock and Liam Kay (Leigh) and Gareth Moore (Featherstone) were also sin-binned in a stop-start game that was a poor advert for Championship rugby.

Rovers have now slipped to fifth place after Dewsbury climbed above them by beating Batley.

Rovers got the start they needed when Paul Sykes’ superb pass sent in Blackmore and Sykes added a touchline goal.

Leigh levelled when Ryan Brierley’s pass, which looked well forward, put in Greg McNally and Martyn Ridyard converted with the first of his five goals from six kicks.

Leigh’s Kay had an effort ruled out after he pushed Blackmore before Rovers missed a gilt edged chance when Blackmore was unable to gather Jordan Baldwinson’s hurried pass.

Hock was fortunate not to be sin-binned for taking a swipe at Baldwinson before Rovers suffered a huge blow when when Wood was sent off. Sam Barlow was sin-binned in the same incident which followed a series of flare-ups.

The Centurions capitalised when McNally went over from close range and Ridyard goaled to put them 14-6 up.

Four minutes before half-time, Will Sharp had an effort ruled out when he failed to get the ball down from Gareth Moore’s kick.

Leigh made it 15-6 on the stroke of half-time with a Brierley drop goal and they quickly went further ahead in the second period when Greg Worthington scored against his old club.

Leigh’s new signing Micky Higham then forced his way over from close range before McNally completed his hat-trick.

Hock, Moore and Liam Kay were then sin-binned in separate incidents as the match continued to be very niggly.

Featherstone’s Thomas Minns had an effort ruled out by the video referee before Rovers completed the scoring six minutes from time when Ian Hardman was awarded a penalty try for the use of knees by McNally as he tried to stop him grounding the ball.

Featherstone Rovers: Hitchcox; Blackmore, Hardman, Minns, Sharp; Sykes, Moore; Baldwinson, Ellis, Wood, Maitua, Cording, James. Subs: Teasdale, Bostock, Carvell, Verlinden.

Leigh Centurions: McNally; Pownall, Platt, Worthington, Kay; Ridyard, Brierley; Moimoi, Beswick, Emmitt, Dixon, Goulden, Barlow. Subs: Higham, Wilkes, Hopkins, Hock.

Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow.