LEIGH EAST 0 ASKAM 38
By Dave Parkinson
Cumbrian visitors Askam highlighted their promotion credentials at Ledgard Avenue, running seven tries past Leigh East, four of them coming in the final 21 minutes.
This was an East team packed with youth and opportunity. Bradley Holroyd, Harvey Massey and Brad Whelan were handed debuts from the clubs burgeouning Under 18s while the likes of Ryan Gray, Jordan Hellam, Billy Bishop and Josh Adudwumma aren't that much older. Ryan Hughes and Jamie Waters also played themselves into their positions after training performances and solid showings for the North West Mens League side.
There was little to choose between the teams in te first fifteen minutes with Askam's Russ Bolton spilling a chance after 14 minutes. A couple of minutes later Holdroyd defused a high kick and was then unlucky on an attempted intercept.
Liam Saunders pushed through for the first score after eight minutes. Kristian Tyson added the first of five goals and save for another scoring move just before the break East were pushing the Cumbrians all the way. Half breaks from Hellam and Gray couldn't be finished and Lee Rowley sadly saw a basket ball pass that gave a running chance for Holroyd pulled back for a forward throw.
Eventually, Askam added their second try after 28 minutes through centre Tom Butler that was converted well by Kristian Tyson, while the outstanding running of Tom Hopkins was creating problems.
Trailing 12-0, East needed a big start to the new half but again it was half chances that fell their way before passing to the right caught the hosts out and allowed winger Jake Spedding a finish at the corner after 45 minutes.
Despite now 16-0 down East were still in the contest and there was some really good work being done in the middle of the field by the likes of Bishop, Jay Yarwood, Phil Bickerstaff, Lee Rowley and Dean Balmer. Their best chance of points came when Whelan opted to kick into the corner early in a tackle count but that evaded everyone and Askam came away from their line.
The crucial score came after 59 minutes when Russ Bolton finished from close range before three spectacular finishes in the last fifteen minutes took Askam away from Easts.
With 65 minutes gone Bolton claimed the first with searing pace down the left that saw him fly 80 metres. The second saw East putting pressure on the defence before a poor ball was snapped up by Daniel Sayle and he went 60 metres.
Kristian Tyson added his fifth goal before Askam brought the house down in the last minute when Mark Tyson galloped over from halfway
It wasn't quite the home performance everyone connected with Leigh East would have hoped for but factoring in the disruption caused by game ending injuries to Gray, Bickerstaff and Fletcher they kept plugging away.
Team: Ryan Gray, Bradley Holroyd, Josh Swift, Josh Adudwumma, Ryan Hughes; Brad Whelan, Harvey Massey; Dean Balmer, Jordan Hellam, Lee Rowley, Tom Fletcher, Phil Bickerstaff, Billy Bishop. Subs: Jay Yarwood, Jamie Waters, Adam Wilkes, Martin Roden.
Askam: Russ Bolton, Jack Cairns, Daniel Sayle, Tom Butler, Ben Lewney; Adam Jackson, Joe Satterthwaite; Liam Saunders, Tom Wilkinson, Jamie Butler, Tom Hopkins, Kristian Tyson, Mark Tyson. Subs: Stuart High, Jake Spedding, Garry Bolton, Marc Dixon.
Tries: Saunders, T. Butler, Spedding, Bolton 2, Sayle, M. Tyson.
Goals: K. Tyson 5.