Martyn magic snatches Leigh win

Leigh 32 Whitehaven 16

Leigh finally made it into Super League at the fourth attempt, their gamble of playing the wounded veteran, Tommy Martyn, paying off as they out-lasted brave Whitehaven in extra time in the National League One Grand Final at Widnes.

Martyn, who had already scored a vital try in normal time, produced a piece of magic in the 83rd minute that unlocked Haven's defence for Ben Cooper's second try and a seven-point lead to steer Leigh towards victory after three previous defeats on the big day.

Both Martyn and the club had insisted his latest arm injury had forced him into retirement and his name did not appear on their original team-sheet.

But Martyn was at the heart of matters and revealed afterwards that he was desperate to play after the club were put in the shadows by Whitehaven at the National League awards dinner in Leeds on Tuesday night.

"What turned my mind was Tuesday," Martyn said. "To be shunned like that - it was two fingers up to Leigh Rugby League club and I was determined to play.

"This is one of the proudest moments of my life to get my home-town team into Super League."The former St Helens player was quick to stress there will be no return to the top flight for him next season, adding: "That's it. I'll be throwing my boots in the crowd in a minute and anyone who throws them back will be getting a smack in the beak."

Leigh had other heroes too, notably their full-back Neil Turley, who finished with a record 18 points from a try, six goals and two drop goals.

Turley had tasted defeat in two previous Grand Finals, so he had extra reason to savour this one. "Third time lucky," he said. "I felt really gutted when we lost, but it's going to be fantastic at the club."

The Leigh coach, Darren Abram, believed that the game was on its way to being won when Martyn phoned him in midweek to say that he wanted to play.

"If Tommy says he's OK, he's OK," he said. "He's done more than 80 minutes for us to win the game. You can't leave a player like that on the touchline." Whitehaven, a club reborn over the last couple of years, went so closed to winning the game in normal time. They led by a point, through Wesley Wilson's second try, until Turley put over his second drop goal five minutes from time.

He and Martyn both missed with further drop goal attempts, but Leigh ruled the roost when the final went into extra time.

Paul Rowley put them ahead with a drop goal before Martyn's clever inside pass paved the way for the crucial try.

Turley, the man of the match, then chased his own chip kick to touch down. He added a penalty, before Martyn finished his distinguished career with a flourish by dropping a goal of his own.

It had been anything but straightforward for Leigh in normal time, with Whitehaven taking the lead through Wilson's try and Mick Nanyn's goal.

Turley's penalty and Cooper's first try levelled the scores and Turley's first drop goal edged them ahead.

Craig Calvert's fine try gave Whitehaven the advantage, but Martyn's opportunism from dummy-half saw him reach out over the try-line with his good arm to put Leigh back in front.

"I honestly thought going into extra time that we could still take the game, but they stepped it up and we didn't," said the Whitehaven coach, Steve McCormack.

Leigh: Turley; Smyth, Halliwell, Cooper, Alstead; Duffy, Martyn; Knox, Rowley, Sturm, Larder, Wilkes, Knott. Substitutes used: McConnell, Cruckshank, Marshall, Swann.

Whitehaven: Broadbent; Wilson, Seeds, Nanyn, Calvert; Joe, Obst; Jackson, Lester, Fatialofa, Davidson, Hill, Walsh. Substitutes used: Miller, Sice, McKinney, Tandy.

Referee: R Laughton (Barnsley).

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker