Pre-season match report as Wigan Warriors beat local rivals Leigh Centurions at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday afternoon
Cherry and Whites win 14-22 in cage pre-season hitout
- Sam Tomkins, Oliver Gildart, Gabe Hamlin and Jake Shorrocks with Wigan’s tries
The Warriors took the bragging rights in this pre-season local matchup as they ran in four tries to beat Leigh 22-14.
The home side took the lead in the 8th minute through Paterika Vaivai but the Warriors fought back swiftly with a Sam Tomkins try.
The Cherry and Whites went ahead with Oliver Gildart getting a hand on the ball to score on the left side. However, the Centurions levelled just before half time through Peter Mata’utia’s try.
It was the Warriors who raced out the blocks in the second 40, as new boy Gabe Hamlin went over in front of the sticks. Wigan’s lead was soon shortened when substitute Jack Owens scored in the left corner with just over 20 minutes to play.
However, on his return from injury, Jake Shorrocks completed the victory for the Warriors, as he darted over with just a minute to spare.
Shaun Wane named a strong line-up for Wigan with Morgan Escaré, Ben Flower and Jake Shorrocks all returning from injury.
New signings Gabe Hamlin and Dan Sarginson both came in with Craig Mullen and Romain Navarrete stepping in after their impressive performances against London Skolars on Friday.
For Leigh, Super League legend and former Wigan man Micky Higham, made his final Rugby League appearance, as he announced his retirement from the game.
It was the home side who opened the scoring, as Paterika Vaivai darted over the line. In his final career game, Micky Higham found Vaivai which opened up a gap in the Warriors defence and the prop was able to storm over with ease. Ben Reynolds converted the kick in front of the posts to give Leigh an early 6-0 lead.
The Cherry and Whites responded in the 15th minute with Sam Tomkins the scorer. Some silky footwork by George Williams created space on the Centurions line and allowed the stand-off to find Tomkins who went over. The full back missed the kick but Wigan were back in the game.
Just over the half an hour mark, the Warriors went in front for the first time, as Oliver Gildart went over. A neat and perfectly timed grubber kick by Williams found the chasing Gildart on the left side and the centre touched down. Tomkins added the extras to make it 10-6 to the visitors.
Leigh replied quickly with Peter Mata’utia going over on the left side. The Leythers switched their attacking play over to the left and Craig Hall’s quick-fire pass to Mata’utia allowed the centre to cross. Reynolds missed the kick but the score was level at 10-all going into the break.
Leigh Centurions 10-10 Wigan Warriors
Wigan went back in front 14 minutes into the second half through debutant Gabe Hamlin. After building pressure on the Leigh line Sam Tomkins found space and placed an accurate kick for Hamlin to run onto and the Australian got there first and touched down. Tomkins added the two points to give his side a six-point advantage.
Just before the hour mark, Leigh reduced the deficit as Jack Owens went over in the corner. The winger latched onto a kick and beat the Wigan defenders to dart over on the left side. Reynolds could not convert the kick meaning Wigan retained a two-point lead at 14-16.
Shaun Wane’s side made sure of the win in the 79th minute, as Jake Shorrocks scored on his return from injury. A clever dummy by Shorrocks allowed him to create a gap in the Centurions defence and cross over the whitewash. Morgan Escaré switched to kicking duties and he converted to complete a 22-14 victory.
Leigh Centurions 14-22 Wigan Warriors
Tries: Vaivai, Mata’utia, Owens
Goals: Reynolds 1/3
Wigan Warriors– 22
Tries: S Tomkins, Gildart, Hamlin, Shorrocks
Goals: S Tomkins 2/3 Escaré 1/1
Leigh Centurions: 1. Craig Hall, 2. Matty Dawson, 3. Ben Crooks, 4. Peter Mata’utia, 25. Ilias Bergal, 6. Ben Reynolds, 7. Drew Hutchison, 8. Paterika Vaivai, #9 Micky Higham, 10. Jamie Acton, 11. Kevin Larroyer, 13. Harrison Hansen, 15. Jordan Thompson.
Interchange: 9. Daniel Mortimer, 17. Kyle Lovett, 20. Greg Richards, 23. Jonah Cunningham, 14. Liam Hood, 19. Jack Owens, 21. Nick Gregson, 24. Jack Blagbrough, 16. Larne Patrick, 26. Jordan Dezaria.
Wigan Warriors: 1. Sam Tomkins, 2. Tom Davies, 3. Dan Sarginson, 4. Oliver Gildart, 5. Joe Burgess, 6. George Williams, 7. Sam Powell, 8. Tony Clubb, 9. Tommy Leuluai, 10. Ben Flower, 11. Joel Tomkins, 12. Liam Farrell, 15. Ryan Sutton.
Interchange: 20. Morgan Escaré, 27. Callum Field, 30. Gabe Hamlin, 19. Willie Isa, 22. Liam Marshall, 38. Craig Mullen, 25. Romain Navarrete, 16. Frank-Paul Nuuausala, 24. Jake Shorrocks, 17. Taulima Tautai, 26. Jack Wells.