Doncaster 18 Leigh 54: Depleted Dons crash to fourth successive defeat

Stu Sanderson scored his 500th point for the Dons   Picture: Malcolm Billingham
Stu Sanderson scored his 500th point for the Dons Picture: Malcolm Billingham

Doncaster inflicted Leigh Centurions’ only Championship defeat of the 2014 campaign last season but were put to the sword yesterday at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Doncaster’s hopes of getting off the mark at the fourth time of asking weren’t helped by the absence of player-coach Paul Cooke.

With Ryan Wilkinson still sidelined, the Dons relied on the inexperienced Josh Kittrick and Tom Holt against arguably the best half-back pairing outside of Super League.

It didn’t take last season’s top scorer Ryan Brierley long to add to his 2015 tally – he raced 60 metres to score after just three minutes.

But for a an ankle tap on centre Greg Worthington by Lee Waterman, Leigh, who had broken down the right in their numbers, would have been in again on six minutes,

It merely proved a stay of execution, however, and Leigh’s powerful loose-forward Sam Barlow broke a tackle close to the line and touched down for a converted try to make it 10-0 after as many minutes.

Leigh weathered a spell of home pressure before increasing their lead with an 18th minute converted try by McNally, who finished off a good break by winger Liam Kay, who spent much of the 2013 campaign in the Doncaster ranks.

Breirley again displayed his blistering pace racing past several defenders, including full-back Dave Scott – no slouch himself – to score in the corner to make it 20-0.

Kay strolled in from close range a couple of minutes later after a bout of slick handling had left Doncaster’s right flank exposed. Martyn Ridyard’s touchline conversion made it 26-0.

Mike Emmett finally gave the home fans something to shout about when forcing his way over from close range and present winger Stu Sanderson with an easy conversion with which to score his 500th point for the club.

A strong run by Armstrong helped put Kay in for his second try, again converted by Ridyard, three minutes after the restart.

Emmett again forced his way over close range to make it 32-12 only for Leigh to hit back with three quality unanswered tries.

Danny Cowling put winger Sam Doherty in on 67 minutes – Sanderson adding the touchline conversion.

Leigh passed the 50-point mark with another spectacular long range try by Armstrong on 73 minutes.

The Dons never gave up but on the day they couldn’t live with Leigh’s pace and support play - especially on the counter.

Dons: Scott, Doherty, Cowling, Waterman, Sanderson, Holt, Kittrick, Robinson, Kesik, Waller, Kelly, Snitch, Carbutt. Dunn, Emmett, Spiers, Tyson-Wilson.

Leigh: McNally, Pownall, Worthington, Armstrong, Kay, Ridyard, Brierley, Emmitt, Penkywicz, Wilkes, Haggerty, Dixon, Barlow. Subs: Beswick, Spencer, Hopkins, Acton.

Ref: J Bloem

Att: 1.602