By Sam Duffy
Halifax RLFC fell to their third straight Kingstone Press Championship defeat at the hands of Leigh Centurions, who triumphed 26-18 at the Shay today.
The hosts led 6-0 at the break but a second half comeback from the visitors sealed the win.
Fax started the better, the best opportunity coming when Ben Johnston kicked through for James Saltonstall, who saw the ball just evade him and run into touch.
Tommy Saxton, in for summer signing Will Sharp, opened the scoring after Leigh full back Lee Smith failed to deal with a testing grubber kick from Gareth Moore. Captain for the day Steve Tyrer converted.
Neil Jukes’ men responded well at the start of the second half. Reni Maitua saw off some weak home defence to score just to the left of the posts.
Moore was in the thick of the action again, putting Adam Tangata away for a stunning try. Moore’s perfectly timed pass was met by the Cook islander, who went over unchallenged.
Last season’s League Leaders Shield winners responded in the way they know best. Two tries from former Great Britain internationals Lee Smith and Gareth Hock saw them lead by four points with 55 minutes on the clock.
Then came the decisive try. Micky Higham, like he has done throughout his illustrious career, scooted over from dummy half to seal the game with six minutes to play.
A late Ridyard penalty goal looked to have finished the scoring but Connor Robinson pounced on Tyrer’s restart to score. Dane Manning and Gareth Hock were then sin-binned in a melee.
One further penalty goal on the hooter from Ridyard extended the lead to eight points, leaving Fax desperate for a lift when they head to Pilkington Recs in next week’s Challenge Cup tie.
Halifax: Greenwood, Saxton, Heaton, Tyrer, Saltonstall; G Moore, Johnston; R Moore, Maneely, Cahalane, Tangata, Manning, A Robinson. Subs: Ambler, C Robinson, Bennion, Bracek.
Leigh: Smith, Pownall, Whiting, Higson, Kay; Ridyard, Reynolds; Moimoi, Higham, Weston, Hansen, Hock, Patterson. Subs: Hood, Hopkins, Maitua, Emmitt.