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When Wigan Warriors and Leigh Leopards met at the Leigh Sports Village earlier in the season it was a comprehensive victory for the Warriors by a scoreline of 40-10 but both sides knew that the recent resurgence of the Leopards meant that this was a far different prospect.

Wigan are flying high at the top of the table and tow points clear of their nearest rivals while Leigh are in ninth spot after their recent resurgence and on the fringe of the play-off places as the season heads into its second half.

The home side had been handicapped by twelve points with the bookies making them firm favourites, but Adrian Lam’s side love an upset, especially over their nearest neighbours.

It was a competitive opening fifteen from both sides, a good, hard derby match.

Edwin Ipape was hauled down by Bevan French just short of the Wigan line on fourteen in the closest play to a try.

On eighteen Robbie Mulhern was sin-binned when he hit Kaide Ellis after the ball had been passed, Leigh a man down for ten minutes and Wigan elected to kick the penalty from thirty minutes, Adam Keighran knocking the ball between the uprights.

Within a couple of minutes the Warrior got the first try of the game, Bevan French completing a delightful passing move with Jake Wardle making the final pass. Keighran added the conversion for an eight-point advantage.

A lifting tackle on Mulhern with twenty seconds of the half remaining saw Brad O’Neill sin-binned for lifting over the horizontal.

Six minutes after the start of the second half a brilliant break from Zak Hardaker gave Leigh a great try scoring opportunity but a foot in touch from Umyla Hanley denied the visitors a score.

On fifty-three, after a sustained period of pressure, Brad Dwyer spotted a gap and went to the line but as he appeared to be held up, he managed to stretch down and ground the ball to send his supporters into raptures. Moylan added the conversion, the Leopards back within two points.

Wigan struck back within five minutes with a flying Liam Marshall scoring a spectacular try in the left corner with his entire body airborne and over the touchline when he grounded. Keighran was unable to convert from the touchline, the Warriors lead a slender six points.

The game was effectively put beyond Leigh on the hour marker when French chipped through the Leigh defensive line and followed his own kick to collect and ground. This time Keighran was on target with the conversion for 18-6.

A minute from time Liam Farrell added the icing to Wigan’s cake after a Jake Wardle break and pass to Harry Smith who beat his man and passed inside to the second rower to go over. Keighran added the conversion for a final score of 24-6.

Wigan’s forty-one-year unbeaten home record against Leigh continues for yet another game, despite Leigh throwing everything that they had at their hosts. Two moments of brilliance, one from Marshall and the other from French won the game for the Warriors and try as they might Leigh couldn’t find the breakthrough that they needed. With Saints being surprisingly beaten by the Castleford Tigers this evening, Wigan are now four points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand over their nearest rivals, it now looks almost certain that they will pick up the league leaders trophy.

Wigan Warriors: French (2T), Miski, Keighran (4/5 G), Wardle, Marshall (T), Farrimond, Smith, O’Neill (SB on 39), Thompson, Nsemba, Farrell (T),  Ellis.  Subs: Mago, Dupree, Walters, Harvard. 18th Man: Eckersley.

Leigh Leopards: Moylan (1/1 G), Hanley, Hardaker, Leutele, Charnley, O`Brien, Lam, Amone, Ipape, Mulhern (SB on 18), O’Donnell, Chamberlain, Trout.  Subs: Pene, Dwyer (T), Hughes, Asiate. 18th Man: Davis.

Half-Time: 8-0.

Full-Time: 24-6.

Score Progression: (SB), 2-0, 6-0, 8-0, (SB) : HT: 8-4, 8-6, 12-6, 16-6, 18-6, 22-6, 24-6 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: Wigan.

Referee: Aaron Moore.

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 5th Jul 2024 10:02 PM | Views : 3440 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES