Featherstone Rovers made Championship leaders Leigh Centurions fight every inch of the way this afternoon.
The Centurions stretched their unbeaten league run to 16 matches by coming out on top 16-12 in a close-fought game at Leigh Sports Village.
Rovers competed magnificently. Their battling display went a long way towards erasing the memory of their capitulation in the 37-0 defeat against Halifax at Blackpool’s Summer Bash two weeks earlier.
Featherstone’s goalkicking winger Jamie Foster, who missed the previous week’s 58-12 win against Swinton because of an RFL registration issue, returned in place of Liam Blockley.
Rovers fell behind in the 23rd minute lead when winger Liam Kay went over and Travis Burns converted but they replied five minutes later when Andy Ellis sneaked in for an unconverted try from acting half.
Burns missed a 35-yard penalty goal attempt on the stroke of half-time as the Centurions led by two points at the break.
Ex-Rovers centre Greg Worthington put Leigh further ahead with an unconverted try 14 minutes into the second-half.
Rovers cut the gap to four points with Foster’s 63rd minute penalty goal but the Centurions then struck a vital blow with Tom Armstrong’s try that Josh Drinkwater goaled.
Featherstone rallied superbly and narrowed the deficit to four four points once more when Bradley Knowles-Tagg crossed and Foster converted but time ran out for coach Jon Sharp’s men after a valiant effort.
Leigh Centurions: Smith; Higson, Worthington, Armstrong, Kay; Burns, Drinkwater; Moimoi, Hood, Weston, Matua, Paterson, Hansen. Subs: Reynolds, Evans, Hopkins, Fash.
Featherstone Rovers: Craven; Johnson, Hardman, Cording, Foster; Briggs, Thackeray; Griffin, ellis, Baldwinson, Spears, Davies, Knowles-Tagg. Subs: Roche, Ormondroyd, Bostock, Ward.
Referee: Sam Ansell (Huddersfield).