By Jake Ashby
A dominant second half performance from Wakefield Trinity sparked a fantastic comeback over Leigh Centurions in the Super League. The victory banished the memories of the 38-14 defeat to Yorkshire rivals Leeds Rhinos in the last round.
It was an impressive first half for Leigh who went in at the interval with a 24-12 lead. However, Chris Chester’s men came out and put on a performance for the fans to be proud of.
Leigh got off to the perfect start four minutes in when prop Gareth Hock broke through the Wakefield defence and passed on to stand-off Ben Reynolds, who calmly went past two Wakefield defenders to finish the move with a try. Reynolds scored the conversion to give Leigh an early six point lead.
Wakefield equalised when Leigh fullback Ryan Hampshire gave away possession easily after a knock-on from a Liam Finn kick. The home side took advantage of the possession as prop David Fifita pushed through several Leigh defenders to set-up centre Joe Arundel for his first try of the season. Stand-off Sam Williams converted, making the score 6-6.
The equaliser inspired the home side as moments later winger Tom Johnstone went on a surging run to bring his team up the field. Fullback Scott Grix then continued the possession by breaking the Leigh defensive line to earn Wakefield’s second try. Williams once again got the conversion to make the score 12-6.
Grix went from hero to zero when he scuffed his kick, giving Leigh possession inside the Wakefield half. Leigh continued to push and hooker Micky Higham managed to convert a 2-metre possession into a try to level the game at 12-12, with Reynolds converting.
More unenforced errors continued to cost Wakefield when Johnstone conceded a knock-on 30 metres from his own try-line. Prop Sam Hopkins went on to cross over for his second try of the season off the bench, following a weak defensive line and Reynolds converted to make it 18-12.
Going behind really seemed to knock the confidence of Wakefield as prop Craig Huby was penalised for a high tackle. Moments later, centre Ben Crooks managed to ride two tackles to score, giving Leigh a 12 point lead following another conversion.
Wakefield started the second half dominantly and were rewarded when Johnstone scored his third try in four games, shimmying between two Leigh defenders, with the Williams conversion making it 18-24.
The home side continued to dominate and stand-off Jacob Miller latched onto a fantastic kick from scrumhalf Liam Finn, the video ref confirming the on-field decision of a try. Williams converted to bring Wakefield level.
About 62 minutes in, Wakefield boasted 78% of the second half possession, and the home side completed the comeback when a Williams kick out wide was caught by Ben Jones-Bishop, who seemed get the ball down on the try line.
It took video referees to confirm Jones-Bishops’ effort was in fact a try. Williams failed to convert, leaving the match poised at a tense 28-24.
However, Wakefield managed to shut out the game in the final 15 minutes. The win sees Wakefield move up to seventh in the Super League table, whereas Leigh remain sixth after being unable to build on their impressive start to the season.