Saints won their second pre-season friendly 24-20 on Friday night – but were pushed all the way by a strong Leigh side.

Ben Barba grabbed a brace in a first half the Centurions shaded before Danny Richardson and Zeb Taia sealed a comeback victory.

The younger players also produced strong performances in the second half as Justin Holbrook rested some of his players ahead of the Betfred Super League opener with Castleford.

Saints struck first after Leigh knocked on straight from the kick off.

After the forwards laid a nice platform, Ben Barba got on the right hand side of the visitor’s defence and fed Jonny Lomax for the easiest of tries.

And ten minutes in they doubled their lead.

Ben Barba produced the magic once again showing some dazzling footwork close to the line to completely fool the Centurions’ defence.

Matty Smith missing the conversion attempt after Mark Percival had done the same earlier.

Saints continued to press home their advantage but it was Leigh who scored next – Liam Hood latching on to nice offload to make it 8-4.

And Kevin Larroyer levelled matters in the 28th minute as he took a fine line on a short ball.

Ben Reynolds adding the two.

Saints didn’t hang around to pull the lead back though – and it was down to the skills of Barba one more.

He hauled in a pass he had no right to take, dummied and then showed great feet to go over in the corner.

But with a few minutes to go former Saint Jack Owens dove in the corner for 14-12.

The home side made a number of changes for the second half – Danny Richardson, Adam Swift and Theo Fages all making appearances.

But it took just two minutes for Craig Hall to increase Leigh’s lead – capitalising on a Saints error.

Saints then reduced the deficit thanks to Percival’s run down the left hand side.

The centre bided his time, drew the full back and then fed the supporting Danny Richardson who converted his own effort.

Saints had dominated the second half in terms of territory and possession and went in front through Zeb Taia’s support.

Jonny Lomax did the damage; hitting a would-be tackle at full speed, spinning out and then offloading to the second rower who was never going to be stopped.

The home side spurned further chances to seal the win but they had done enough to head into next week’s clash with Castleford two from two.

Match Summary:

Saints:
Tries: Lomax, Barba (2), Richardson, Taia
Goals: Percival (0 from 2), Smith (0 from 1), Richardson (2 from 2)

Leigh:
Tries: Hood, Larroyer, Owens, Hall
Goals: Reynolds (1 from 2), Hall (1 from 1)

Penalties Awarded:
Saints: 7
Leigh: 5

HT: 12-14
FT: 24-20

REF: P Bentham

ATT: 3298

Teams:

Saints:
23. Ben Barba; 2. Tommy Makinson, 3, Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 19. Regan Grace; 1. Jonny Lomax, 7. Matty Smith; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 16. Luke Thompson, 11. Zeb Taia, 17. Dom Peyroux, 12. Jon Wilkin.
Subs: 5. Adam Swift, 6. Theo Fages, 8. Alex Walmsley, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 15. Morgan Knowles, 18. Danny Richardson, 20. Matty Lees, 21. Jack Ashworth, 22. Jake Spedding, 24. James Bentley, 30. Mathew Costello.

Leigh:
1. Craig Hall; 2. Matty Dawson, 3. Ben Crooks, 4. Peter Mata’utia, 19. Jack Owens; 6. Ben Reynolds, 7. Drew Hutchison; 13. Harrison Hansen, 9. Daniel Mortimer, 10. Jamie Acton, 11. Kevin Larroyer, 12. Bodene Thompson, 15. Jordan Thompson.
Subs: 14. Liam Hood, 16. Larne Patrick, 17. Kyle Lovett, 18. Nathan Mason, 20. Greg Richards, 21. Nick Gregson, 23. Jonah Cunningham, 24. Jack Blagbrough, 25. Ilias Bergal, 26. Jordan Dezaria.

Saints

Leigh Centurions

Last updated 10 Aug 18 21:36:14

78'

Cracking run from Swift – collects ball near his try line and runs through tacklers to get Saints up to the 30 metre line.

Amor in the wars! @plattyphoto

Into the last ten minutes, Saints lead 24-20

Multitude of changes from the Saints – One of them is James Bentley who is now on the field

@plattyphoto on the button again…

60'
Goal
for Saints

Richardson tagging on the extras for 24-20

59'
Try
for Saints

Lomax with the hit, spin and offload to Zeb Taia

Yes Danny lad! @plattyphoto

51'
Goal
for Saints

Richardson with the conversion – it’s Saints 18 Leigh 20

50'
Try
for Saints

Percy goes down the left hand side, draws the full back in and puts Danny Richardson over 16-20

47'

Great break from Saints down the left hand side – but Knowles’ pass to Lomax goes forward

46'

Penalty to Saints, they will attack from 40 metres out.

Apologies, it was a Leigh try – they lead 20-12

42'
Try
for Leigh Centurions

Craig Hall capitalises on a Saints’ error and Leigh lead 20-12

Back out for the second half – Leigh lead 14-12. Grace, Roby and Smith replaced by Swift, Fages and Richardson.

Some of Saints subs – Fages, Richardson, Bentley etc out on the field getting loose.

38'
Try
for Leigh Centurions

Jack Owens wrestles the lead back – diving over in the corner for 12-14

It’s Ben again… #2 for our #23 @plattyphoto

30'
Try
for Saints

Another wonderful effort from Barba – hauls in a pass that was away from him, dummied and showed great feet to go over.

29'
Goal
for Saints

Ben Reynolds giving Leigh a 10-8 lead.

28'
Try
for Leigh Centurions

And, as we type, Kevin Larroyer takes a short pass and brings it level

27'

Game has become a little scrappy – Leigh edging the latest stages too.

21'
Try
for Leigh Centurions

Liam Hood takes an offload on the last and it’s 8-4

Skipper on the ball @plattyphoto

16'

Saints leading 8-0

Cracking try and a cracking pic! @plattyphoto

13'
Try
for Saints

Wonderful solo effort from Barba close in – fantastic sidestep and he ghosts though

11'

But they lose the ball – Saints come away with it and remain 4-0 up.

10'

Leigh’s turn to attack now, they are camped on Saints’ line.

Luke Thompson carries the ball in @plattyphoto

6'

Leigh penalised and Saints are on the front foot again. They lead 4-0

Dom Peyroux congratulating the scorer @plattyphoto

3'

Percy misses the extras and it remains 4-0

3'
Goal
for Saints

Percy misses the extras and it’s 4-0

2'
Try
for Saints

Lovely run and offload from Barba puts Lomax over

1'

Leigh knock on in their first hit up – Saints have the ball 30 out.

Saints are out on the field – in our away kit tonight. They will get the game underway

Your teams tonight:

Saints:
23. Ben Barba; 2. Tommy Makinson, 3, Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 19. Regan Grace; 1. Jonny Lomax, 7. Matty Smith; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 16. Luke Thompson, 11. Zeb Taia, 17. Dom Peyroux, 12. Jon Wilkin.
Subs: 5. Adam Swift, 6. Theo Fages, 8. Alex Walmsley, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 15. Morgan Knowles, 18. Danny Richardson, 20. Matty Lees, 21. Jack Ashworth, 22. Jake Spedding, 24. James Bentley, 30. Mathew Costello.

Leigh:
1. Craig Hall; 2. Matty Dawson, 3. Ben Crooks, 4. Peter Mata’utia, 19. Jack Owens; 6. Ben Reynolds, 7. Drew Hutchison; 13. Harrison Hansen, 9. Daniel Mortimer, 10. Jamie Acton, 11. Kevin Larroyer, 12. Bodene Thompson, 15. Jordan Thompson.
Subs: 14. Liam Hood, 16. Larne Patrick, 17. Kyle Lovett, 18. Nathan Mason, 20. Greg Richards, 21. Nick Gregson, 23. Jonah Cunningham, 24. Jack Blagbrough, 25. Ilias Bergal, 26. Jordan Dezaria.