Salford City Roosters beat East in NCL
LEIGH EAST 16
SALFORD CITY ROOSTERS 30
By Dave Parkinson
Leigh East suffered a surprising home loss in stormy conditions, thanks in the main to a big pack performance and lots of enthusiasm from their visitors.
East made a good start and opened the scoring after seven minutes when Andrew Ball split through the middle and Harvey Massey supported to score. Adam Holland kicked the conversion and the hosts led 6-0.
Back came Salford City Roosters and scored on the right through prop forward Marc Gilligan. Jon Openshaw missed the conversion but was on target after half an hour with a penalty.
The visitors continued to press and after Openshaw missed another penalty attempt, the Roosters had two more sets on East line before centre Christian Higgins touched down in the right corner. 10-6 to the visitors remained the score at half-time.
Early in the second half, East went close and looked to be controlling the game before Jordan Parker snaked out an arm and ran in a seventy-metre intercept try after 51 minutes. Openshaw goaled to make it 16-6. Salford halfback Paul Morgan then appeared to fumble the ball and to the surprise of everyone, referee Mattew Charnock waved play on. Parker followed up, kneeing the ball forward before winning the race for his second try. Again Openshaw, in the same team as his father Ricky, kicked the conversion.
East needed a response but lost Louis Else after 62 minutes, yellow carded for dissent. The next try went their way however, a trademark ten metre scurry to the line from Andrew Ball. Holland closed the gap to ten points with the conversion but Openshaw settled any nerves in the visitors' ranks when he slotted a penalty after 71 minutes. A couple of minutes later Marc Jones decided the game for the visitors finishing some good support play for Jon Openshaw to complete a ten point tally with the conversion.
In the dying moments, Leigh East played some expansive rugby and were rewarded with a late try by Ellis Noon, but the hosts were outfought on the day.