Halifax lose ground in Championship after 12-men go down to heavy defeat at Leigh

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Halifax slipped further off the pace in the race for a top five Championship finish with a miserable 31-8 defeat at Leigh.

Simon Grix’s side were left reeling after the Centurions ran in three tries in eight minutes early in the game, opening up a 16-0 interval lead.

And after a bad tempered second half, the visitors - who had lost Jacob Fairbank to the sin bin in the first half - finished the game with 12 men after prop Dan Fleming was sent off following a 70th-minute melee.

Ironically, the visitors started well, with Scott Grix heavily involved as they moved their opponents around the field.

And they had the first chance of the game, Liam Cooper - who has been increasingly impressive under Grix - just spilling the ball after Steve Tyrer tapped Murrell’s kick back.

But with that chance gone, Leigh moved downfield and Iain Thornley sliced through on Fax’s right from Gregg McNally’s pass to touchdown.

Martyn Ridyard put the kick wide, but with Fax still reshuffling following Murrell’s substitution, winger Mitch Cox touched down twice in quick succession in the right corner.

Ridyard added both conversions for a 16-0 advantage that already looked close to decisive and although Fax battled their way back into the game as the half wore on, they never consistently built enough pressure to put their hosts in trouble.

And right on half time, they were reduced to 12 men when Fairbank was sin binned after a scuffle with Toby Adamson, sparking bad tempered scenes in the mouth of the tunnel as Adamson’s non-playing brother, Luke, and Leigh’s assistant coach Paul Anderson made their feelings known.

Fax had a chance early in the second half when Chester Butler charged for the corner, but his lofted inside ball was picked off by a desperate defender.

But it was Leigh who extended their lead when hooker Liam Hood finally found the way through the defence, Ridyard’s conversion drifting wide to leave the score at 20-0.

A Ridyard penalty stretched that advantage to 22-0, before Grix finally broke the defence, putting Butler on course for the corner.

But Tyrer’s kick went wide and any hope of a Lazarus-like revival evaporated when Adam Tangata fouled Woods with 10 minutes to go, sparking a brawl that saw Fleming red carded as the visitors finished with 12 men.

Ridyard’s penalty, drop goal and a converted try from Sam Brooks rounded off a thoroughly underwhelming afternoon, with James Woodburn-Hall’s last play score doing nothing to disguise the visitors’ shortcomings.

Leigh: McNally; Cox, I. Thornley, Forsyth, Marsh; Ridyard, Woods; Douglas, Higham, Brooks, Adamson, Bachelor, Cator. Subs: Hood, A. Thornley, Spencer, Hock

Halifax:Grix; Saltonstall, Tyrer, Butler, Sharp; Murrell, Laulu-Togagae; Kavanagh, Kaye, Tangata, Cooper, Larroyer, Fairbank. Subs: Woodburn-Hall, Moore, Fleming, Morris

Referee: J. Smith