National Conference League, Leigh East 24 Shaw Cross Sharks 22


LEIGH East made a winning start to their National Conference League campaign after battling back 6-16 to claim victory.

So often in recent years, close games have taken precedence over the opposition. This time it was Leigh East day.

The Shaw Cross Sharks came out to play and, buoyed by the performance of first rowers Zach Parkinson and Matthew West, got to work. Callum Barker cleared a gap for the visitors and Brad Baines converted.

East fired back quickly when they went left and Ben Mercer held the ball long enough for the defense to bite and Joe Digby fired for the try. Ben Woods added the first of four goals.

Shaw Cross responded with two tries. Leading second row Ryan Chalkley dived from the dummy half and then Tom Ashen found himself outside Ben Wharton from a scrum to score. Baines’ second goal opened the 6-16 lead.

Cameron Clark ensured the hosts were within touching distance at half-time with an improved score from Woods to make it 12-16.

Clark had a great game and continued his form in the second half when he backed Cobyn Fletcher to crash for his second after Kieron Prescott chased Woods’ kick from a scrum.

The decisive try went East when the excellent Prescott crossed the middle of Mercer’s pass and Woods’ fourth goal made it 24-16.

A self-converted try from Dec Tomlinson with eight minutes left ensured a nervy ending, but Leigh East held on.

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