Tommy Makinson scored two tries in his testimonial match, but Saints were edged out 25-24 after a late Ryan Brierley drop goal gave Leigh Centurions the win.
Saints were missing a number of first teamers including, Lachlan Coote, Regan Grace, Matty Lees and Morgan Knowles, but new signings Joel Thompson and Sione Mata’utia did start before a number of Saints youngsters took to the field for the second period.
The early exchanges saw Leigh come out the blocks the quicker and they took the lead in the 12th minute after a low kick was picked up by Jamie Ellis who kicked on and went over in the right corner. Ellis kicked his own conversion to give the Centurions a 6-0 lead.
Leigh continued to push forward, but against the run of play, Jonny Lomax used his quick feet to create some space before finding the returning Mark Percival and he made a break before releasing Kevin Naiqama who was too powerful for the Leigh defender and he went over in the left corner. Tommy Makinson, on kicking duties, converted to make it 6-6 after 24 minutes.
Saints continued to defend strongly, and we took the lead for the first time. Jack Welsby threaded a brilliant low kick through and new signing Joel Thompson read the play and touched down for a debut try on 35 minutes. Makinson made it two from two with the conversion to make it 12-6.
Saints went over again on the stroke of half time; Makinson scoring the try on his own testimonial after a great pass under pressure from Lomax. Makinson turned one man and powered over in the right corner. He converted his own try, giving Saints a 18-6 lead going into half time.
Saints rung the changes in the second half and it was Leigh who started the second half the better team. They were rewarded in the 48th minute with a good try from Matty Russell who ran from the left touchline across the back line before checking inside to go over. Ellis converted to make it 18-12.
The Centurions were in again in the 58th minute as Adam Sidlow spun the defender on the line to go over. Ellis added the extras to bring the scores level.
Leigh then went in front in the 64th minute through Ryan Brierley after a great high kick over the top from Ellis saw Brierley latch on to the ball to go over. Ellis added the extras to give the visitors a 24-18 lead.
With three minutes to go, Makinson dragged Saints back into the match with his second of the match after young Tom Nisbet had broken through. Makinson converted to square up the game.
Despite Makinson’s impressive display, Brierley kicked the winning drop goal to win it for Leigh Centurions in the last seconds of the game.
Saints 13: Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Josh Simm, Mark Percival, Kevin Naiqama, Theo Fages, Jonny Lomax, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Joel Thompson, James Bentley, Sione Mata’utia.
Interchanges: Kyle Amor, Agnatius Paasi, Aaron Smith, Lewis Dodd, Jake Wingfield, Josh Eaves, Dan Norman, Tom Nisbet, Matthew Foster, Nico Rizzelli, Ben Davies, Sam Royle.
Tries: Naiqama (22), Thompson (35), Makinson (40, 79)
Conversions: Makinson (4)
Leigh 13: Ryan Brierley, Matty Russell, Iain Thorley, Junior Sa’u, Keanan Brand, Joe Mellor, Jamie Ellis, Liam Hood, Mark Ioane, Nathan Mason, Ben Hellewell, Jordan Thompson, Matty Gee.
Interchanges: Nathaniel Peteru, Adam Sidlow, Alex Gerrard, Tom Spencer, Matty Wildie, Blake Wallace, Craig Mullen.
Tries: Ellis (12), Russell (48), Sidlow (58), Brierley (64)
Conversions: Ellis (4)
Drop Goals: Brierley (80)
Half time: 18-6
Full time: 24-25
Referee: James Child