Leigh Centurions suffered their first Championship defeat of the season yesterday as they went down 24-16 away to Doncaster after a big second-half rally from the hosts.
Leigh, who had won all their previous 18 Championship games this season, had led 16-6 at half-time following tries from Martin Aspinwall, Ryan Brierley and Sean Penkywicz.
But Doncaster fought back in the second half, keeping the Centurions scoreless, and eventually scoring two tries each from Tom Hodson and Ben Crooks with one from Scott Spaven.
It was also the first time Leigh have failed to score 20 points or more in the league this season.
The victory means that Doncaster now lie fourth in the table, two points behind second placed Featherstone, and level on points with Halifax. And five of their last seven games are at home, as they aim for the financially lucrative second place.
Doncaster player-coach Paul Cooke had left himself out of his own team’s lineup, but he was delighted by the end of the game.
“The players who were playing were in better form than me,” Cooke told today’s League Express.
“But as a coach this was the first time there was anything really significant up for grabs for me.
“Our original goal this year was to make the top eight. But the players had higher ambitions. We found ourselves with a really good start to the season and we carried on.
“I believe in them, and I told them so before the game. At half-time I told them that we had done enough to still be in the game.
“But let’s give Leigh some credit. They are a first class organisation, both on and off the field, and the way they have built their club is what we aspire to.”
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