12 Aug 2018 in News
LEIGH EAST 36
By Dave Parkinson
Leigh East ended a run of eleven straight defeats thanks to a brilliant second half that sank visitors Drighlington.
The early stages of the game belonged solely to the visitors. Mick Sanderson booted them to a 2-0 lead in the second minute after they claimed possession from the kickoff and won back-to-back penalties.
The first try of the game came after six minutes when Sanderson fed Jake Dearden down the right and his delicate grubber was touched down by Thomas Moorby. Sanderson goaled to make it 8-0 and it was soon 14-0 prop Pete Everitt grounded a Sanderson kick and the halfback nudged over the goal.
Drighlington continued to dominate with East giving away possession and penalties freely. A sweeping move left involving Sanderson and Nathan Larkin brought a second try for Moorby after 21 minutes with Sanderson's fourth goal making it 20-0.
East began to work their way back gradually with Louis Else and Jamie Waters making some big carries to provide a platform for halfbacks Adam Holland and debutant Matty Rudd. Just before half-time, the hosts won an attacking scrum twenty metres out and Marcus Mercer did well to evade a tackler and send Bernard Abaogye crashing to the line. Holland converted from wide out and it was 20-6 to Drighlington.
East came out with a steely determination and Mercer twisted free from close range to claim the first try of the second half. Holland goaled before some nifty footwork from a penalty brought a first try of the year for Cameron Coulton. Again Holland added the goal to close the deficit to two points.
Player-coach Martin Roden was then injured on the hour in an attempt to bring down one of Drighlington's big forwards and swiftly dispatched to hospital.
That blow had a strangely galvanising effect on Leigh East as they ramped up the intensity.
Trickery from Andrew Ball saw the hooker beat three defenders on the last tackle before passing left for Else to score. That put East in front for the first time with Holland's fourth goal making it 24-20.
Rudd started and finished the next try as East took play down the right. First, his fifteen-metre pass brought a surging run for Abaogye and the halfback followed up to take the return pass. Holland converted to make it 30-20.
East added further gloss a couple of minutes from the end when Coulton and Holland combined for Tom Worthington to score. Holland completed his six-goal haul and the final whistle brought celebration.
Matty Rudd was voted Man-of-the-Match by Drighlington and he was well supported by Holland, Mercer and Else, but in truth, every member of the team contributed to the victory.