The final game of the Summer Bash at Headingley faw first take on second in a game billed as 'the main event' – a match that had neutrals salivating with Leigh having come into their own after an early season which saw Featherstone dominate the league.
Rovers coach Brian McDermott had no doubts about the game he was facing, naming four forwards on his interchange bench.
Including the 1895 Cup Final, this was the fourth time the clubs have met this season, so both teams were familiar with each other, but Leigh were everyone's favourite for the win, having won all but the first of their encounters this year..
The opening sets looked pretty even, but Rovers gave away the game's first penalty for offside. three minutes into the match, which gave Leigh the chance to put pressure on their line.
Getting a ruck near the Rovers' after Fev gave away a differential penalty at a scrum, opened the opportunity for neat bit of play, the ball tipped on to John Asiata running a diagonal fo the in-goal and crossing to score with ease, Ben Reynolds kicked the conversion and the Centurions led 0-6.
Rovers hit back straight away when Joey Leilua raced onto a kick out on the right, giving the Leigh defence no chance of stopping him. Craig Hall couldn't convert though and Leigh still led, by a two point margin.
With 20 minutes gone, Leigh extended that. Rovers threw the ball backwards out of a tackle in their own 20m but only found the ground. Leigh pounced on it and a couple of plays later former Austrlian internatioal Blake Ferguson ran onto a drop-off at speed and crossed the line. Reynolds converted for a 4-12 gap.
Minutes later, Ferguson turned provider on the right touchline, passing inside to full back Caleb Aekins who crossed for the try which made it 4-16. Reynolds kicked the goal again, and Leigh led 4-18.
The 14 gap proved too much for the Featherstone defence and on 27 minutes a mass brawl broke out, with both Rovers' Tyla Hepi and the Centurions Nene Macdonald shown red cards for punches to the head.
Rovers looked to have shrugged it off as Gareth Gale dived over in the corner but superb defence by Joe Wardle saw him lose the ball in mid-air.
As soon as play move to ther Featherstone end again, an Adam Sidlow pass found the always dangerous Edwin Ipape near the line. He powered over to dot the ball down between the posts. To no surprise, Reynolds converted from in front and Leigh had a 20-point advantage with the score at 4-24,
But with the half-time hooter approaching, Sam Esseh offloaded to Connor Jones who broke the Leigh Line and raced a head to give Rovers their second try. Craig Hall's conversion gave Fev a lifelline with the scores at a more respectable 10-24 as the hooter sounded.
A scrappy start to the second half by both sets of players ended when Rovers conceded a penalty for offside in their own 20m. The Centurions moved the ball rapidly to the left where Aekins intercepted a ball meant for his winger Josh Charnley and scored in the corner.
Just a minute for two later, Esseh got the ball off Jones from a play-the-ball near the Leigh line and ran powerfully to score in the corner and restore the gap to what it had been. Hall's goal narrowed it slightly at 16-28.
On 52 minutes Hall came out of the line hunting an intercept but overran the Leigh pass which landed in the hands of Ed Chamberlain who was left with a clear run to the sideline. He scored, but goal-kicker Reynolds couldln't and the score rested at 16-32.
The Leigh right edge came into its own before the 60-minute mark. moving the ball out to the right where Ferguson realised he was blocked in by the Rovers defence and kicked in-field for Sam Stone to score
And on 61 minutes Lachlan Lam kicked to the in-goal and as Leigh's defence carefully shepherded it out Joe Wardle sneaked through and grounded the ball just before the dead ball line. Leigh now led 16-40.
As the game entered its final 10 minutes, Lam span out of a tackle, broke the Featherstone line and raced away to sore under the posts. Ferguson kicked the conversio, and the score read 16-46.
Josh Charnley looked like he'd brought the 50 mark up for Leigh in the final two minutes, racing onto a Lam kick - but dropped the ball over the line.
And that was the last meaningful action of the game: Leigh were winners by 46-16. In the process, they secured home advantage throughout the Championship play-off series and showed signs that they could be building a side to compete in Super League, as a stadium light show brought an end to the first day of the Championship Summer Bash.
Featherstone Rovers: Broadbent; Gale, Leulia (T), Hall (2G), Lineham,; Smith, Ford; Springer, Jones (T), Moors, Hardcastle, Helliwell, Wild. Subs: Ferres, Fleming, Eseh, Hepi (Red 27).
Leigh Centurions: Aekins (T); Ferguson (T, G), Chamberlain (T), Macdonald (Red 27), Charnley; Reynolds (4G), Mellor; Makubuwai, Smith, Sidlow, Wardle (T), Stone (T), Asiatia (T). Subs: O’Donnel, Lam (T), McDonnell, Ipape (T).
Half Time: 10-24
Full Time: 16-46
Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 4-6, 4-10, 4-12, 4-16, 4-18, 4-22, 4-24, 8-24, 10-24. HT: 10-24, 10-28, 14-28, 16-28 16-32, 16-36 16-40, 16-44, 16-46. FT.
Referee: Liam Moore