Nothing goes right for Rovers in opening game

ZAK Hardaker scored his sixth try this season in Thursday's defeat at Leigh Centurions. PICTURE: BOB NUNN.
ZAK Hardaker scored his sixth try this season in Thursday's defeat at Leigh Centurions. PICTURE: BOB NUNN.

INJURY-hit Featherstone made a losing start to their Co-operative Championship campaign with Thursday’s 36-10 defeat at Leigh Centurions.

Nothing went right for Rovers who were up against it from the start.

Already without five props - four injured and one suspended - they lost Andy Bostock through illness shortly before the game and then suffered another blow when centre Sam Smeaton hobbled off with a badly twisted left ankle after just four minutes.

Their other centre Liam Welham sustained a first-half leg injury and was taken off at half-time.

Rovers put themselves under pressure with early handling errors and fell behind in the 11th minute when Leigh’s Tom Armstrong scored.

Feaherstone were then punished for conceding a needless penalty when Martin Ridyard sent in Mick Nanyn who converted his own try to make it 10-0.

Injury problems mounted for Rovers when Welham suffered a knock and had to be switched to the wing.

However, they gradually worked their way back into the game and their best first-half spell culminated in Liam Finn and Andy Kain sending in Zak Hardaker for a 31st minute touchdown - his sixth this season - that Finn goaled.

Leigh quickly replied after Featherstone’s Kain was harshly penalised when he was unable to release his arm in tackle because it was trapped by Leigh’s Nanyn.

The Centurions made the most of the attacking position when Jamie Ellis plunged over and Nanyn converted to put the home side 16-6 up at the break.

Rovers substitutes Mufara Mvududu and Caysi Pearson came on at the start of the second-half.

Featherstone were again out of luck when they were denied a clear penalty when Nanyn dragged Kain into touch.

Debutant Pearson then failed to take a difficult high pass and Leigh capitalised with Dean McGilvary’s 47th minute try that Nanyn goaled to put Leigh 22-6 up.

Rovers continued to battle away and clever play by Kain saw Bryn Powell go over at the corner for a well-taken score.

Nanyn kicked a 68th minute penalty to edge Leigh further ahead and Featherstone’s hopes of a bonus point ended when Nanyn scored his second try from a kick through.

Leigh added another try minutes later when ex-Castleford player Stuart Donlan scored after Rovers were undone by another kick.

Nanyn completed the scoring with his sixth goal to take his points tally to 20.

MATCH DETAILS

Scorers - Leigh: tries Nanyn (2), Ellis, Armstrong, McGilvary, Donlan; goals Nanyn (6). Featherstone: tries Hardaker, Powell; goal Finn.

Leigh: Donlan; Maden, Armstrong, Nanyn, McGilvary; Ridyard, Ellis; Hill, Duffy, Mills, Littler, Goulding, Taylor. Subs: Nash, Thornley, Gorski, Govin.

Featherstone: Hardaker; Powell, Smeaton, Welham, Saxton; Kain, Finn; Grayshon, Kaye, Dickens, Dale, Spears, Worthington. Subs: Pearson, Williams, Hardman, Mvududu.

Referee: Matthew Thomason.

Attendance: 1,940.