29 May 2021 in News
WIGAN ST JUDES 12
LEIGH EAST 14
By Dave Parkinson
Leigh East, so often on the end of close results against them in recent times, were able to hold on to claim victory at Wigan St Judes following a pulsating encounter.
A much reshuffled East, with 7 player or positional changes from last week's 28-4 defeat at the hands of Thatto Heath, and neither first-team coach available for the game, were dogged throughout and thoroughly deserved the result against a physically bigger St Judes.
There was little to choose between the teams for much of the opening 15 minutes, although East perhaps made better use of territory with the likes of Zac Nicholls, Louis Else and Joe Digby running strongly.
It was the hosts that opened scoring however when swift passing down the left brought the first of two tries for wing Reece Matthews. The conversion attempt missed and East responded quickly when returning Harvey Massey delayed his pass long enough to unlock the defence and fine gap running from Cameron Coulton saw him cross the line. Massey missed the conversion attempt and the game was locked at 4-4.
The close nature continued until the 36th minute when East claimed a second try when Else proved too powerful for three would-be defenders on the line. Danny Griffiths converted but a fumble from the restart allowed Judes to go on the attack and a lovely dummy and pace from scrum-half Josh Yates saw him sail over. Surprisingly the goal was missed again and East held a slender 8-10 half-time advantage.
With the likes of Aaron Smith and Daniel Fallon amongst it, Judes made the better start to the new half and got their attacking precision perfect for Matthews to slide over for his second try. Again, surprisingly the kick was missed but it was 12-10 to the hosts.
With Pat Rainford, Keiron Prescott and Jamie Bond all impressing with their running games on the back of solid efforts from the forwards and Griffiths never far from the ball there was a sense of control for East. Digby saw a score ruled out following a clever nudge through the defence while Judes also toiled away.
Just after the hour East landed a decisive blow when a lovely pass from Ben Sims put Ben Wharton on the outside of his man and the young winger brushed off a tackle attempt and sped to the corner. Leading 14-12, Rainford and Prescott in particular started to find gaps with only some great last-ditch defence keeping the visitors at bay.
Into the final ten minutes both teams continued to play but it was East's resolve that won through in the end.
Next week East host Wigan St Pats, fresh from a 22-10 win over Pilkington Recs.
Ben Wharton hits top gear on the way to the try line.
Louis Else powers into the defence.
Get out of my way!
Ben Sims looks to break the line.
Pat Rainford breaks the tackle.