Leigh Centurions 34
Dewsbury Rams 6
DEWSBURY Rams suffered a disappointing defeat in the Co-operative Championship last Sunday - the first of back-to-back games at the Leigh Sports Village.
The Rams return to the same venue in Sunday’s Northern Rail Cup semi-final but they will need to show a vast improvement if they are to spring a major upset and follow in the footsteps of Batley Bulldogs in reaching the showpiece Blackpool final.
Although props Keegan Hirst and, in particular, Anthony England tried to get the Rams moving forward, Dewsbury struggled in the conditions as torrential rain prevented any flowing rugby and the visitors were guilty of several handling errors.
Prolific points scorer Mick Nanyn was again to the fore for the Centurions as the powerful centre bagged a hat-trick of tries but unusually he had an off day with the boot and only managed to land two out of six goal attempts.
Dewsbury needed to make a solid start if they were going to pressurise the league leaders but conceding three tries in the opening quarter, gave the Rams an uphill task that they were unable to overcome.
Nanyn capitalised on an early mistake from Rams stand-off William Barthau as he collected the ball and raced away to score after just four minutes. Nanyn also added the goal.
Dominic Brambani kicks twice forced Leigh to drop-out but Dewsbury were unable to capitalise and it was the Centurions who extended their lead with an unconverted try as Tommy Goulden latched onto a crossfield kick by scrum-half James Ellis to score an unconverted try.
Stuart Littler crossed for an 18th minute try which Nanyn converted before Dewsbury attempted to exert some pressure only to be repelled by a solid Leigh defence, with loose forward James Taylor outstanding.
Although the Rams trailed 16-0 at half-time, there was hope that they could still get something out of the game.
However, those hopes were extinguished as John Duffy and Ellis combined to move the ball right and Stuart Donlan squeezed over wide out to stretch the home side’s lead.
Nanyn was on the end of a sweeping move when he gathered Martyn Ridyard’s pass to score his second try and the centre then collected an Ellis crossfield kick to complete his hat-trick six minutes later.
Ellis converted the latter and at 30-0, the Rams hopes of getting a consolation bonus point had ended.
Austin Buchanan latched onto a Brambani chip through but he was denied close to the line, while winger Michael Wainwright was stopped short by Leigh prop Chris Hill before the Centurions scored a seventh try, with Steve Maden crossing for his 12th of the season to make it 34-0.
To their credit Dewsbury kept going until the end and the Rams faithful who had stayed until the end were rewarded when Ayden Faal made a storming break and sent England over for a deserved late consolation try between the posts and Brambani tagged on the conversion with his only attempt at goal all afternoon.
Defeat leaves the Rams in trouble near the foot of the table and they must re-group quickly ahead of Sunday’s return match with a cup final place up for grabs.
Leigh Centurions: Donlan; Maden, Littler, Nanyn, Higson; Ridyard, Ellis; Hill, Duffy, Nash, Thornley, Goulden, Taylor. Subs (all used): McGilvray, Briscoe, Nicholson, Mills.
Dewsbury Rams: Craven; Wainwright, Turner, Faal, Buchanan; Barthau, Brambani; England, Blake, Hirst, Fletcher, Lockwood, Sarsfield. Subs (all used): Menzies, Wilson, Hodgson, Wilson.
Referee: George Stokes.