Barrow Raiders 8 Leigh Centurions 24

Three Leigh Centurions tries either side of half-time were Barrow Raiders’ undoing as they were unable to make the most of a battling first-half performance at Craven Park.

With games running out in the Raiders’ battle against relegation, they’re having to target their home games and they more than matched their play-off chasing visitors for much of the opening period.

Fielding Declan Hulme in a competitive game for the first time in the campaign, Barrow led for half an hour when the returning centre set up a try for Deon Cross after eight minutes.

The hosts’ defence held firm impressively for a long period of time under heavy pressure, but the dam was burst just before half-time as Gregg McNally struck back for Leigh, who added two more scores in the first seven minutes of the second half.

Barrow didn’t go under, but they didn’t have the quality to fight back in the remainder of the game and with six matches left, the gap between them and safety remains two points.

Having withstood an early barrage from Leigh, Barrow then struck from their first attack and it was well-worked down the right.

Wartovo Puara sauntered into a bit of space before passing to Hulme, who quickly moved the ball out wide for Cross to scamper into the corner, with Jamie Dallimore’s conversion slipping wide.

The hosts came close to adding to their lead when Dallimore chipped towards the left wing towards Stargroth Amean, who unfortunately knocked the ball forward before diving to ground it.

Having played so well for the first half, it was gut-wrenching to see Barrow fall behind two minutes before the break, as McNally got away down the left and sold a dummied pass for Iain Thornley before going over.

Martyn Ridyard’s goal gave Leigh a 6-4 lead at half-time, but that gap was extended within two minutes of the restart when the ball was worked wide to the left for Thornley to score.

The Raiders unfortunately had drifted into an all-too-familiar habit of conceding a cluster of tries in a short period and Centurions’ third soon arrived through Ridyard.

Now 18-4 down, Barrow needed a response and they produced one when Dallimore’s long pass was helped on by Amean and Tee Ritson had just enough space to score in the left-hand corner.

Dallimore’s missed conversion meant the deficit was ten points, which remained the case after a pass that looked set to send Ritson away again was ruled to have gone forward.

With time starting to run out, both teams had players sent to the sin bin, with Dallimore walking for striking McNally with Woods following after he piled in during the ensuing melee.

Leigh then made the game safe with nine minutes left when Ridyard moved the ball left for Jordan Thompson, who crashed over from a few metres out and Paterson then rubbed a bit more salt in the wound by adding a penalty from in front of the posts.

Barrow Raiders: Cresswell, Ritson, Hulme, Amean, Cross, Dallimore, J Carter, Walne, Puara, Susino, Paisley, Stack, Aspinwall.

Interchange: Riley, Walker, White, B Carter.

Tries: Cross 8, Ritson 54

Goals: none

Leigh Centurions: McNally, Forsyth, I Thornley, A Thornley, Marsh, Ridyard, Woods, Brooks, Higham, L Adamson, T Adamson, Batchelor, Cator.

Interchange: Hood, Paterson, Thompson, Emmitt.

Tries: McNally 38, I Thornley 42, Ridyard 47, Thompson 71

Goals: Ridyard (3), Paterson

Referee: Tom Grant

Attendance: 1,637

Raiders star man: Deon Cross