Batley fail to hold on as Higson’s hat-trick earns Centurions win

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Batley Bulldogs produced a terrific effort and went close to pulling off a shock win over Kingstone Press Championship leaders Leigh Centurions.

The Bulldogs recovered from conceding two early tries as they battled back to lead 12-10.

Leigh had Gareth Hock sin-binned for dissent but it was while down to 12 men that the Centurions scored three tries in seven minutes to change the game.

Leigh started well and Adam Higson raced in at the right corner after just two minutes following a break by Greg McNally. Martyn Ridyard landed a superb touchline conversion.

Leigh moved play wide to the left where opposite winger Liam Kaye raced over as the visitors led 10-0 after as many minutes.

Wayne Reittie intercepted a pass and raced upfield, outpacing the cover defence before cutting inside to race between the posts. Scott Leatherbarrow converted and Batley had real hope, trailing just 10-6 at half-time.

Batley twice forced Leigh to drop out early in the second half as Alistair Leak burrowed over from acting half-back and Leatherbarrow converted to edge the Bulldogs ahead.

Hock was then sin-binned for back chat but it was Leigh who struck with a decisive spell.

Higson dived in at the right corner before Jake Emmitt stretched for the try line and was judged to have got the ball down, despite Batley claims he had been short. Ridyard converted.

Higson stepped out of a tackle and over for his hat-trick try seven minutes from full-time and Ridyard’s conversion gave the Centurions breathing space.

Batley battled until the end but the game ended on a sour note when a brawl erupted. Tom Lillycrop (Batley) and Jamie Acton (Leigh) were sent off, Hock sin-binned for a second time.

Batley Bulldogs: Craven; Reittie, Ainscough, Squires, Brown; Mitchell, Leatherbarrow; Rowe, Blake, Gledhill, Breatherton, Day, Chandler. Substitutes: Leak, Hesketh, Lillycrop, Thackray.

Leigh Centurions: McNally; Higson, Worthington, Armstrong, Kaye; Ridyard, Reynolds; MoiMoi, Beswick, Hock, Dixon, Goulden, Acton. Substitutes: Higham, Hopkins, Spencer, Emmitt.

Referee: C Kendall (RFL).