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).

Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
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

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need