A club record 31 penalties were awarded by referee Matthew Thomasson in this afternoon’s Kingstone Press Championship clash between Dewsbury Rams and Leigh Centurions.
Leigh ran out 36-6 winners but it was the referee’s display which provided the main talking point from a game which was never allowed to flow.
A staggering 19 penalties were awarded against the Rams, 11 of which came in the second half as Dewsbury were starved of possession for almost all that period.
Dewsbury drew first blood after seven minutes whe Sean Penkywicz was penalised for flopping on Scott Hale and the Rams mounted an attack.
Tom Lillycrop fed Aaron Brown, who produced a sublime pass to send Stephen Nash over behind the posts. Dale Morton converted.
Things began to take a turn for the worst for the home side midway through the half as Mr Thomasson awarded Leigh several penalties and Penkywicz crossed in the right corner.
Substitute James Taylor burrowed over between the posts after 29 minutes and Martyn Ridyard’s conversion put Leigh 10-6 ahead.
A minute before half-time Leigh were awarded another penalty - the 14th of a disjointed first half - and Ridyard hammered over the goal from 40 metres out.
Dewsbury’s kick off sailed straight into touch and as the hooter sounded, Ridyard kicked the goal from halfway to stretch Leigh’s lead to 14-6.
The game swung in Leigh’s favour nine minutes into the second half following a crucial passage of play.
Jy-Mel Coleman launched a kick downfield and was clattered by a reckless late high tackle by Penkywicz.
Mr Thomassson awarded Dewsbury the penalty close to the Leigh line but failed to hand out further punishment on Penkywicz.
To compound matters, Simon Finnigan intercepted a pass and charged towards halfway. He lobbed the ball out to John Pownall, but despite the pass appearing forward, play was allowed to continue and the winger raced in for a try which Ridyard converted.
Coleman then had a kick charged down and Matt Gardner won the race to touchdown for an unconverted try.
As the penalties continued to flow, tempers boiled over in the 63rd minute when a mass brawl broke out and when calm was eventually restored Nash and Leigh’s Rob Parker were sin-binned, although both could easily have been sent off.
Although Parker appeared to throw the first punch, Leigh were awarded the penalty and Ridyard gathered a short pass to score and convert.
Penkywicz crossed for Leigh’s sixth try following another penalty awarded against the Rams and Ridyard converted to complete a miserable day for Dewsbury.
As the final hooter sounded Mr Thomasson left the field to a chorus of boos from disgruntled Dewsbury supporters.
Dewsbury: Akaidere; Morton, Hale, Pryce, Scott; Brown, Johnston; Lillycrop, Wright, Nash, Walshaw, Spicer, Gallagher. Subs: Tebb, Coleman, Aizue, Tonks.
Leigh: Brierley; Maden, Littler, Gardner, Pownall; Ridyard, Beswick; Ostick, Penkywicz, Parker, Finnigan, Goulden, Duffy. Subs: O’Donnell, Thornley, Hopkins, Taylor.
Referee: Matthew Thomasson.