LEIGH EAST 20
After two wins in succession at the start of the month, Leigh East returned to action with a first ever away game at Drighlington. Unfortunately for Head Coach Paul Wingfield, work and holiday commitments saw his matchday squad reduced to fifteen players on the day of the game.
Drighlington by comparison were able to name their strongest team of the season and took an early stranglehold on the game when prop forward Ethan Hallas marched through the middle and Michael Sanderson hit the first of four goals.
East were under pressure and an error from Ryan Hughes saw the hosts move within range and more smart work from dummy hlf brought a try for Gary Smith. Sanderson goaled again and it was 12-0 with barely ten minutes played.
This period was not exclusively Drighlington and Josh Adudwumaa was held up after chasing down a long kick from a scrum and Jordan Hellam then suffered the same fate.
Just as East seemed to be making a fist of things they were marched back to their own twenty and Steve Ormesher was sinbinned. A mistake in yardage brought a scrum the way of the hosts and Tom Moorby showed good speed and footwork to finish in the right corner. It was now 16-0 to the hosts.
Again the visitors rallied with Holland kicking through and winning a drop out but an error ended the pressure.
Seconds from the end of the first half another teasing Holland kick almost saw Pat Rainford go over, but the bounce just evaded him.
Three minutes into the new half home second row Steve McIntyre was sent off for a challenge on Adudwumaa. In truth there looked nothing in it but Leigh East got down field and scored with Holland dancing through from close range. He also added the conversion before an injury to Ormesher halted the game and meant that the big sub could no longer play his part. Holland then found returning Sam Grainey and he scored on his return to the team.
Holland's kick went wide but East attacked with new found confidence and Adudwumaa blazed 95 metres for a spectacular score. It proved another unconverted score but the visitors were running hot with Nathan Gaskell being hauled down inches short.
Drighlington increased their advantage on the hour when hooker Kieron Rouche was put through by Michael Sanderson who then collected a return pass to go under the posts. Sanderson's conversion made it 22-14.
The game exploded five minutes later when Jay Yarwood was tackled without the ball by Rouche. The pair traded blows with the referee showing little hesitation in sending Yarwood off and binning Rouche for ten minutes.
A smart try by Pat Rainford, goaled by Holland ensured a nervous end to the game and when East were handed a penalty twenty metres out, they pushed for the win and a try rather than goal points. It didn't come off.
Drighlington forced a drop out late on; East went for the short restart only to see the hosts score from the second play when Ben Nabozny charged over on the left. Sanderson added his final goal and East lost 20-28.