Ridyard leads Featherstone to first away win in pulsating clash against his old club Leigh

Rovers half-back Martyn Ridyard scored two tries against his old club Leigh. Picture: Dec Hayes.
Rovers half-back Martyn Ridyard scored two tries against his old club Leigh. Picture: Dec Hayes.

MARTYN Ridyard scored two tries and kicked four goals at his old club Leigh Centurions to steer Featherstone Rovers to their first away win of the season in the Betfred Championship on Sunday.

Ridyard’s 16-point haul against his hometown team saw Rovers win 38-30 and move level on points with London Broncos and Toulouse Olympique at the top of the table.

A hat-trick of tries by centre Ben Crooks was in vain for relegated Leigh whose slump continued with their fourth defeat in five games.

Trailing 28-20 with 15 minutes left, Rovers staged a storming finish to win a pulsating clash and end their Leigh hoodoo after losing their last nine matches against the Centurions.

Leigh bounced back from 14-8 behind to lead 20-14 at the break.

Rovers made a cracking start when winger Luke Briscoe went over at the corner after just two minutes to stretch his try scoring run to six consecutive matches.

The Centurions, with caretaker coach Kieron Purtill in charge following the resignation of Neil Jukes, levelled three minutes later when Rhys Evans scooped up a loose ball to race 65 yards to score.

Featherstone then lost injured centre Anthony Thackeray before they fell behind when Crooks scored from a scrum in the 17th minute.

They quickly squared matters with half-backs Tom Holmes and Ridyard putting in Shaun Robinson.

Captain Ian Hardman failed to convert Featherstone’s first two tries but he kicked a 40-yard penalty in the 23rd minute to put them back ahead.

Ridyard kicked a superb 40-20 to set up the attacking position from which he sent Connor Farrell crashing over but the game then swung Leigh’s way when they scored two tries in three minutes, both converted by Craig Hall.

Bodene Thompson capitalised on a Rovers error to score before Crooks bagged his second touchdown.

Shortly before half-time Featherstone’s Briscoe and Josh Hardcastle went close and Leeds Rhinos dual registered forward Jack Ormondroyd had an effort ruled out for obstruction.

Ormondroyd, who was playing at centre, was hauled down inches short of the line as Rovers pressed strongly early in the second-half.

They made it 20-20 when Ridyard converted his own try after intercepting a wild pass but Leigh regained the lead three minutes later when Matty Dawson-Jones dived over from a pass by Crooks who then completed his hat-trick to put them eight points ahead.

Fifteen minutes from time, Rovers cut the gap to two points when Ridyard goaled his second try.

Leigh’s Hall then kicked a penalty goal but Rovers snnatched the lead with seven minutes left when Keal Carlile made the opening for Mitch Clark to plunge over from close range and Ridyard converted.

Leigh’s Harrison Hansen had an effort disallowed for a forward pass before Rovers sealed victory when Briscoe stole the ball in a one-on-one tackle and raced 65 yards for his second score and Ridyard added his fourth goal to make it a happy return to Leigh for Featherstone coach John Duffy who made nearly 200 appearances in three spells with the Centurions .

Leigh Centurions: Hall; Dawson-Jones, Crooks, Matautia, Evans; Reynolds, Hutchison; Richards, Hood, Hansen, Patrick, B Thompson, J Thompson. Subs: Higham, Vaivai, Acton, Larroyer.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Briscoe, Hardcastle, Thackeray, Robinson; Ridyard, Holmes; Clark, Carlile, Oledszi, Farrell, Mariano, Knowles. Subs: Wildie, Hock, Ormondroyd, Brooks.

Referee: Chris Kendall (RFL).