Widnes 12 Leigh 54: McCormack rues Leigh superiority

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The Independent Online

To say that Widnes are getting sick of the sight of Leigh would be a serious understatement.

Counting a pre-season friendly, this was the fifth time the two teams relegated from Super League have met this year and Leigh have won the lot, culminating in this humiliatingly one-sided Northern Rail Cup quarter-final.

"We've had a good season apart from when we've played Leigh,'' said the Widnes coach, Steve McCormack, who faced calls for his resignation from sections of the crowd.

Widnes, without David Peachey, Barrie McDermott and Mick Nanyn, were not helped by early injuries to Terry O'Connor and Gavin Dodd. That was no excuse for what followed, though, with five tries in 14 minutes owing as much to Widnes' incompetence as to Leigh's penetrative rugby.

Tere Glassie, Scott Grix, Danny Halliwell and Aaron Heremia all went over, but the most embarrassing try came when Lee Greenwood mugged the dazed Widnes centre Adam Bowman, ripping the ball from his hands.

Even when Grix was sent to the sin bin, Widnes struggled to make their advantage tell. They did manage a try before half-time, through Daryl Cardiss, but they had left themselves with far too much to do.

Ricky Bibey went over early in the second half and Gary Sykes was next, followed by a second apiece for Halliwell and Greenwood before Danny Speakman went 80 yards for Leigh's last try and Mark Smith got a meaningless late effort for Widnes.

"I felt a bit sorry for Steve McCormack" said the Leigh coach, Tony Benson. "That wasn't their best side but you have to take the opportunities in front of you.''

Widnes: Dodd; Kirkpatrick, Bowman, Cardiss, P O'Connor; Coyle, Watson; T O'Connor, Smith, Cassidy, Tandy, Allen, Beswick. Substitutes used: Crook, Heaton, Nash, Sidlow.

Leigh: Grix; Gaskell, Hughes, Halliwell, Greenwood; Forber, Heremia; Bibey, Rowley, Wilson, Taylor, Glassie, Grundy. Substitutes used: Sykes, Speakman, Hill, Stevens.

Referee: I Smith (Oldham).