LEIGH EAST 36
THORNHILL TROJANS 8
By Dave Parkinson
Leigh East cruised back to winning ways with a seven try home success over Thornhill Trojans. The win was headlined by two tries a piece by second row Zac Nicholls and centre Sam Grainey.
From the first minute East controlled the game. They were unlucky with a second minute play that stretched the defence only for Grainey to pass into touch.
Thornhill were also full of early errors and penalties but shuffled well to haul Ryan Hughes in touch. Then seven minutes in, East moved the defence around before Zac Nicholls burst over from a smart Adam Holland pass. Tom Worthington added the goal.
The visitors moved into range themselves but again errors prevented them building consistent pressure.
At the other end Josh Adudwumaa was hauled down close to the line on the left, but East brought play down the right again with Worthington creating a gap for Nicholls to go through for his second. Worthington strck the extras and it was 12-0.
Having lost in the BARLA National Cup last weekend, Thornhill's fragile confidence was further dented when they conceded a penalty for a high shot on Pat Rainford and then compounded the issue with back chat to the referee.
Holland then shot through the line himself and the hosts led 16-0 with barely eighteen minutes played.
Thornhill knuckled down and improved as the half went on, none the less, East launched an attacking kick downfield that wouldn't sit up for Josh Adudwumaa. The visitors responded with a try before half time when big substitute Gareth Love proved unstoppable but East made the game safe with two tries in the first eight minutes of the new half. First the outstanding Jay Yarwood collected a bobbling ball after Jordan Hellam's improvised kick and a fumble by Thornhill stand-off Will Gledhill.
Worthington goaled and East found the scoring groove again three minutes later when Holland's cross field kick was spilled by the visitors and Sam Grainey touched down.
The next twenty-five minutes saw no further score despite another long kick for Adudwumaa not bouncing in favour of the in-form East man. At times things threatened to boil over with plenty of physicality between both packs. In this period both teams played on the edge with East defending well.
Trailing 26-4 into the final ten minutes, Thornhill briefly threatened a comeback when Gledhill scored their second try but Leigh East finished the game strongly. First Grainey went over thirty metres from a tap penalty to score before the hosts scored a wonderful team try before the final whistle. Started by a Pat Grainey break from inside his own half, the move was carried on by Ben Parry before Worthington supported and added his fourth goal to secure the 36-8 victory.
Leigh East: Christopher Penn, Ryan Hughes, Nathan Gaskell, Sam Grainey, Josh Adudwumaa; Adam Holland, Tom Worthington;
Jamie Waters, Pat Rainford, Adam Wilkes, Zac Nicholls, Phil Bickerstaff, Jay Yarwood. Subs (all used): Ben Parry, Jordan Hellam, Alex Leadbetter, Ryan Holcroft
Tries: Nicholls 2 (7, 14), Holland (18), Yarwood (45), Grainey 2 (48, 77), Worthington (80).
Goals: Worthington 4/7.
Thornhill: Mindaugas Bendikas, Joss Ratcliffe, Anthony Broadhead, George Stott, Jason Milner; Will Gledhill, Luke Haigh; Lee Smith, Will Poaching, Anthony Harris, Ben Kendall, Andrew Lambert, Steve Smith. Subs (all used): Josh Uster, Josh Clough, Matt Teasdale, Gareth Love.
Tries: Love (39), Gledhill (73).
Goals: Gledhill 0/1, Milner 0/1.