WINGER Tommy Saxton’s three tries were the highlight as Featherstone reached the Co-operative Championship Grand Final for the second year running with a magnificent display at Bigfellas Stadium on Thursday night.
Rovers turned on the style, scoring some delightful tries in a 35-20 win as they totally outplayed the team that inflicted their solitary league defeat this season.
Liam Finn was an important contributor with a try and six goals including a drop goal.
Two of Leigh’s four tries came in the closing stages while Rovers were down to 12 men with Saxton in the sin-bin.
The sides could meet again in the Grand Final at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium on Sunday, October 2, because Leigh host Sheffield Eagles or Halifax in next Thursday’s final eliminator.
Rovers never looked back after scoring the first two of their six tries in the opening 10 minutes through Hull KR winger Ben Cockayne and half-back Finn, who added both goals to make it 12-0.
Winger Steve Maden pulled a try back for the visitors midway through the first half but Saxton scored tries either side of half-time to put Rovers in firm control.
There was no way back for Leigh after centre Mick Nanyn had an effort ruled out by the video referee when he lost control of the ball stretching out for the line.
Saxton put the result beyond doubt on 55 minutes when he completed his hat-trick from Jon Hepworth’s pass.
Forward David Mills scored a second try for the Centurions and Nanyn’s goal made it 28-10 but Finn added a drop goal for the home side and before substitute Andy Bostock scored from Finn’s high kick
Saxton missed the last 10 minutes after being sin-binned for kicking the ball away and the Centurions took advantage of their extra man to score consolation tries through Martyn Ridyard and Nanyn who kicked his second goal.
Scorers: Featherstone: tries Saxton (3), Cockayne, Finn, Bostock; goals Finn (5), drop goal Finn. Leigh: Maden, Mills, Ridyard, Nanyn; goals Nanyn (2).
Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Cockayne, Smeaton, Worthington, Saxton; Kain, Finn; Tonks, Kaye, Dickens, Grayshon, Spears, Hepworth. Subs: Divorty, Dale, Bostock, Netherton.
Leigh Centurions: Donlan; Maden, Littler, Nanyn, McGilvray; Ridyard, Ellis, Hill, Duffy, Mills, Thornley, Goulden, Taylor. Subs: Higson, Hunter-Paul, Hopkins, Nash.
Referee: Tim Roby.