LEIGH EAST 10
WIGAN ST JUDES 14
By Dave Parkinson
It may have gone down as another loss for Leigh East but the influence of new boss Martin Roden is starting to take effect.
East welcomed high flying Wigan St Judes to Ledgard Avenue on Saturday and pushed their higher placed opponents all the way in a tough and at time explosive encounter.
The hosts made a solid start with early completions before Judes added the first points after five minutes. A good spot at the ruck by Nathan Bevan saw the Lancashire player tear downfield and wing Joey Brady crossed in support. Barry Rothwell goaled before having to leave the field with injury at the end of the first quarter.
Leigh East fronted up with Adam Wilkes, Jordan Hill and Louis Else setting the standard and they received good support from Zac Nicholls, Jake Beaumont, Jay Yarwood, Chris Hamer, Sam Grainey and Andrew Ball. It meant that the going was tough for the visitors who were often to start their attacks just metres from their own line.
A cross kick after 22 minutes from Yarwood bounced fortuitously behind Judes winger Ashley Marshall and five minutes later a drilled kick from Worthington was retrieved. A Sam Grainey break on the left brought more field position before Wilkes was felled by a high tackle. The ensuing melee saw Judes Gavin Rodden and East pair Zac Nicholls and Chris Hamer sent to the sin-bin after 28 minutes.
Ten minutes passed with no change to the scoreboard before Gary McMahon was held down by Jordan Hellam twenty five metres from the posts. McMahon goaled and the teams hit half-time with Judes leading 8-0.
In the second half East applied a ton of pressure, forcing numerous drop outs before finding a 56th minute breakthrough. It came from an Adam Holland kick that was allowed to bounce by Marshall. The lurking Josh Adudwumaa collected and dashed over from 15 metres. Tom Worthington couldn't goal but was on target eight minutes later after a smart offload by Josh Swift was converted into a try by Ball.
East led 10-8 with sixteen minutes remaining before Judes built pressure of their own. Eventually this told in the 70th minute when Connor Parkinson scored for McMahon to convert and give his side a 10-14 advantage.
In the closing stages the game blew up again when Worthington was sinbinned and then involved in another altercation with Rodden. Referee Simon Ellis dismissed Worthington and Rodden and also sent off Hamer and St Judes loose forward David Fagan.
With barely seconds remaining East pushed forward for a winner, but Judes held out to claim the win from a physical encounter.