Wolves hold off Leigh in Halliwell Jones thriller

Warrington Wolves came back from a 12-14 half-time deficit to beat Leigh Centurions 34-24 in today’s quarter-final of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Warrington opened the scoring in the eighth minute when Ashton Sims touched down under the posts from a superb short pass by Chris Hill, with James O’Brien adding the conversion.

But the Centurions replied quickly when Greg Worthington touched down a Ryan Brierley grubber to the line and Martin Ridyard added the goal.

The Wolves took the lead again, however, when Ben Harrison stole the ball from Bob Beswick, one on one, and O’Brien fed the ball to Ben Currie, who sped to the line to score and O’Brien’s goal restored a 12-6 lead.

Ryan Brierley then scored a brilliant opportunist try when a high kick from O’Brien was knocked back by Stefan Ratchford. Brierley picked up the ball and accelerated around Ratchford near the touchline to score from distance, although Ridyard couldn’t add the goal.

Fuifui Moimoi almost scored but was penalised for a double movement, but then Leigh took the lead with a brilliant try when Liam Kay took the ball down the left wing and kicked inside perfectly for Gregg McNally to collect the ball and touch down. Ridyard couldn’t convert, but Leigh went into the sheds with a two-point lead.

But at the start of the second half the Wolves took a grip of the game with two quick tries.

Brad Dwyer made a great break and Ratchford supplied a smart pass to Kevin Penny and then Penny scored his second with an amazing display of acrobatic skills by the corner post. O’Brien converted the first but not the second, and the Wolves led 22-14 after 45 minutes.

And they extended their lead eleven minutes later when George King touched down a Dwyer kick, with Ben Westwood goaling in the absence of O’Brien, who had been sinbinned for ten minutes.

Leigh were not finished, though, and they fought back when Brierley touched down Ridyard’s kick on the second tackle, with Ridyard’s kick reducing the deficit to eight points.

But when Currie scored his second with ten minutes remaining, the mountain was too high for the Centurions to climb, even though they did add a try from Tom Armstrong, with Ridyard’s goal completing the scoring on a beautiful, sunny day in Warrington.

A full report, photos and analysis will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express.