It was a typical pre-season opening 20 minutes as both sides rarely threatened each others goal-line, the closest being a grubber kick by our new number one Jack Welsby, which held Leigh in their own in-goal before they were just able to avoid a drop-out after a second effort.
The first real spell of pressure in the game came from the hosts. After a succession of penalties Alex Walmsley tried twice to crash over from close range, but a strong Leigh defence held him up. Saints were eventually held out as a grubber kick close to the line landed in Caleb Aekins’ hands.
Saints did take the lead shortly before the break. A massive break downfield by Joey Lussick on his debut saw him find Agnatius Paasi, he then drove towards the sticks but was stopped short. From that break we worked the ball out left where Tommy Makinson strolled over in the left corner. Lewis Dodd’s conversion attempt from the left touchline dropped narrowly short, and that was the only score of the first half, as Saints led 4-0 at the break.
After a number of changes, the Saints lead was extended three minutes into the second half. Youngster Jon Bennison made a break down field cutting in from the left wing and off the back of it Saints threw the ball through the hands from left to right, which ended with new signing Konrad Hurrell finding Josh Simm who squeezed over in the right corner. Dodd added the extra two to make it 10-0.
Leigh thought they had responded on the 50th minute mark, however some great last ditch defending from the Saints on our right edge forced the Leythers into touch. The visitors went close again minutes later after a break down the left from Kieran Dixon, however Saints were just about able to get numbers back to stop the attack.
Leigh did grab their first try with 15 minutes to go. Joe Wardle fended off a Saints attempted tackle before stepping the full back to score. Ben Reynolds added the extras to make it 10-6. Saints could have extended their lead with a little over five minutes to go but a sneaky offload by Ben Davies was dropped as Saints wasted a great chance to seal the win.
The win was sealed minutes later though. We were awarded a penalty in midfield, and on the first tackle another debutant James Bell, against his former Club, stepped a few defenders before flying over the try-line to score against his old club.
Big Al stepped up and slotted over the conversion in front of a roaring West Stand to seal a 16-6 victory.
Saints Team: Jack Welsby, Will Hopoate, Konrad Hurrell, Ben Davies, Tommy Makinson, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Matty Lees, Sam Royle, Joe Batchelor, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
Interchanges: Joey Lussick, Agnatius Paasi, Kyle Amor, Jake Wingfield, James Bell, Josh Simm, Dan Norman, Jon Bennison, Lewis Baxter, Shay Martyn, Reece Sumner, Rio Osaywanbo Corkill, Ellis Archer, Daniel Moss.
Tries: Tommy Makinson (36), Josh Simm (43), James Bell (76)
Conversions: Lewis Dodd (1 from 2), Alex Walmsley (1 from 1)
Leigh Centurions Team: Caleb Aekins, Jy Hitchcox, Keanan Brand, Nene Macdonald, Tom Nisbet, Ben Reynolds, Joe Mellor, Adam Sidlow, Aaron Smith, Chris Green, Joe Wardle, Sam Stone, Tom Amone.
Interchanges: Ata Hingano, Ed Chamberlain, Jacob Jones, John Asiata, Luis Roberts, Keiran Dixon, Mark Ioane.
Tries: Joe Wardle (65)
Conversions: Ben Reynolds (1 from 1)