Armstrong's delayed strike derails Halifax

Halifax 16 Leigh 20

A last-minute try from Tom Armstrong, the winger on a dual-registration contract from St Helens, gave Leigh victory in a Northern Rail Cup final that maintained its reputation for high drama.

Leigh trailed Halifax for virtually the whole the game, but they were the ones with the composure to break the deadlock at the end. It means that they have ticked one of the boxes for a Super League application in 2014.

The Northern Rail Cup has grown in status and credibility as a trophy worth winning in its own right, as well as for the distant view of Super League it affords through its window of opportunity. The finals have produced some classic battles and, although points were slow to come in this one, it had the same fierce competitive edge.

On a blustery Blackpool afternoon, both sides had an early try chalked off. Halifax's came when Rob Worrincy touched down after Ben Black's kick caused havoc in the Leigh defence. A minute later, Martin Ridyard dummied his way over but with the aid of an obstruction.

The first points that counted came after Tommy Goulden lost the ball in a tackle and Black's delayed pass sent former Leigh player Miles Greenwood over the line. Danny Jones missed the conversion but added a penalty when Steve Nash was punished for interference in the tackle. Then, on the half-hour, 'Fax extended their lead with a try that underlined their superiority. Sam Barlow stood in the tackle to get the ball to Sean Penkywicz, who ran across field to pick up the run of Stephen Bannister.

That man of many cup finals, Robbie Hunter-Paul, was on the field by this point and Leigh looked to him to lift them. However, a stunning run from behind his own tryline by Worrincy stressed that it was Halifax who had the danger-men.

It was Worrincy's mistake, though, that let Leigh back into the game, losing possession with a parody of a play-the-ball, leaving Jamie Ellis to be the man who found the angle to the tryline. Almost immediately, Dean McGilvray was close to adding a second, but just shaved the line as he touched down. Undeterred, Leigh drew level a couple of minutes later, Chris Hill, like Ellis destined for a Super League club next season, beating three men for a very memorable try.

Halifax reasserted themselves after Leigh were penalised for holding down, moving the ball via Black and James Haley for Worrincy to score in the corner and Jones to land an important conversion.

Armstrong went close for Leigh before Ridyard's measured kick gave Ellis his second and their second equaliser. Then, with 20 seconds left, Ridyard and Stuart Littler released Armstrong and Leigh were ahead for the only time in the match at the only one that matters.

"In the first half the occasion overawed us a bit," said the Leigh coach Ian Millward. "Martin Ridyard was one who was a bit overawed on the day, he could have played better, but I am glad he relied on his instincts and did not freeze up at the end."

Halifax Greenwood; White, Haley, Goddard, Worrincy; Jones, Black; Gannon, Beswick, Cherryholme, Smith, Bannister, Fairbank. Substitutes used D Nash, Aizue, Penkywicz, Barlow.

Leigh Donlan; Maden, Littler, Nanyn, McGilvray; Ridyard, Ellis; Hill, Duffy, Mills, Thornley, Goulden, Taylor. Substitutes used Hunter-Paul, S Nash, Armstong, Higson.

Referee M Thomason.

Suggested Topics
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits