Leaders Leigh see unbeaten run ended by impressive Doncaster

Doncaster coaches Paul Cooke (left)
Doncaster coaches Paul Cooke (left)
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DONCASTER produced an inspired second-half fightback to become the first team to inflict defeat on runaway leaders Leigh this season and end their 18-match winning streak.

It was an outstanding performance by the home side who fully-deserved their victory and they did it without player-coach Paul Cooke, who was on the sidelines with a neck injury.

There was little to choose between the sides in the first half, but Leigh punished every Doncaster mistake to lead 16-6 at the interval, combining ruthless finishing with superb defence.

But the home team managed to raise their game another notch in the second half, nilling their opponents while running in four unanswered tries.

Flying winger Tom Hodson and dual-registration centre Ben Crooks scored a couple of tries apiece but overall it was an outstanding team display.

Doncaster opened the scoring in the third minute when Hodson charged down a kick and outpaced the visitors cover to touch down under the posts with Dave Scott adding the points.

Leigh’s response was swift with Martin Aspinwall rounding off a spell of pressure five minutes later with Ryan Brierley converting to level the scores.

Brierley raced through following a mix up in the home defence to put Leigh ahead in the 23rd minute and they stretched the lead through Sean Penkywicz.

But Doncaster refused to buckle and an opportunist try from Scott Spavin in the 50th minute sparked the revival. Crooks latched onto Hodson’s kick to level the scores after 63 minutes and then Hodson rounded off a slick passing move five minutes later to put the home side in front.

Doncaster defended magnificently in the nail-biting closing stages before Crooks intercepted a desperate pass and raced away to seal a splendid performance.

Doncaster: Scott, Sanderson, Welham, Crooks, Hodson, Miller, Wilkinson, Carbutt, Kesik, Robinson, Starling, Snitch, Emmett.Substitutes: Spaven, Spiers, Wilson, Waterman.

Leigh Centurions: McNally, Pownall, Hankinson, Armstrong, Kay, Beswick, Brierley, Spencer, Penkywicz, Aspinwall, Haggerty, Goulden, Barlow. Substitutes: Higson, Hopkins, Wilkes, Emmitt.

Referee: T Crashley.