Martyn leads Leigh to clear cup victory

Hull KR 14 - Leigh 42
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The Independent Online

Leigh, beaten three times in grand finals in the last four years, hope that this will finally be the year that they win their place in Super League. If this game is anything to go by, they are well on the way.

In the previous two seasons Huddersfield and Salford have each reached the top flight by winning the grand final to follow mid-season victories in the Arriva Trains Cup Final, a competition for the 20 National League clubs.

Leigh's convincing win in this year's final at Rochdale FC's Spotland home confirmed the view that they will never have a better chance than this year. They had far too many match-winners for a well-beaten Rovers side.

Leigh's assistant coach Tommy Martyn, playing his final season with his hometown club after a decade of success at St Helens, and John Duffy set the tone with classy displays at half-back, while the aggressive running and tackling of Oliver Wilkes added vital impetus in the pack.

Rovers were swept away in a decisive opening quarter as Leigh posted three tries, two to the predatory Danny Halliwell sandwiched by one from the prop Simon Knox with Martyn, Duffy and hooker Paul Rowley all playing roles in the build-ups.

Though Rovers responded with a well-worked try from a scrum, Paul Mansson sending Craig Poucher over unopposed, Martyn's sublime pass to send Ben Cooper over just before half-time confirmed Leigh's superior cutting edge.

Rovers made a far better fist of things in the second half and cut the lead to 26-14 when Scott Thorburn went over for a converted try five minutes after the re-start. But Rowley's break set up the prolific Neil Turley for the clinching try and late scores by Martyn and Knox confirmed Leigh's dominance.

"We laid an outstanding foundation and kicked on from there," said Leigh's coach, Darren Abram. "Martyn showed flashes of brilliance and Wilkes was outstanding. Our next goal is to win the grand final and this experience will stand us in good stead."

Hull KR: C Poucher; N Pinkney, P Parker, M Golden, L Stott; P Mansson, P Hasty; M Aizue, S Thorburn, J Aston, D Holdstock, A Smith, T Gallagher. Substitutes used: A Seibold, M Calland, F Watene, P Fletcher.

Leigh: N Turley; D Potter, D Halliwell, B Cooper, R Smyth; J Duffy, T Martyn; S Knox, P Rowley, M Sturm, D Larder, O Wilkes, I Knott. Substitutes used: D McConnell, W Swann, R Marshall, H Cruckshank.

Referee: C Morris (Huddersfield)