Now four points adrift at the bottom of the table, and on the brink of a very prompt return to the Championship, Leigh Centurions went into Saturday afternoons game with Hull FC knowing that another loss would compound their crisis.
Hull FC gave a debut to Mitieli Vulikijapani as they looked for the win which would re-establish some breathing space over the red side of the city following the Robins sensational win over Wigan Warriors last night but they knew that a loss would see them drop out of the top five to the advantage of their neighbours.
Few gave Leigh a snowball in hells chance of getting a win.
It was the perfect start for FC when Leigh made an error from the kick off and on their first set of six in possession the ball was moved to Jake Connor who exploited the overlap and threw a dummy before he coasted in for the opener. Marc Sneyd was unable to add the conversion.
Leigh were back on level terms on six minutes with Bell going over by the uprights off a Liam Hood offload. Ryan Brierley added the simple conversion to edge the Centurions into the lead.
Some last tackle magic, an Adam Swift kick into goal was chased by the winger himself and grounded, put the Airlie Birds back in front on thirteen. Sneyd couldn’t find the target from the touchline.
Hull were keeping the ball alive and giving it plenty of air as the probed for a third try. After forcing a dropout Manu Ma’u was on hand to take a Fonua pass to score. Sneyd missed his third kick iof the afternoon, none of them particularly easy, as FC took a 12-6 lead.
Connor Wynne drifted a delightful pass to Bureta Faraimo to score in the corner for the fourth FC try of the afternoon. Sneyd was off target again from wide, now zero from four attempts as the half hour mark approached.
On the half hour it was becoming a bit of a progression as Mahe Fonua was next over for the black and whites as he took a Connor soft pass to go over. Sneyd broke his kicking duck for 22-6.
A long-range Swift try, his second of the half and the sixth of the game encapsulated the total dominance from FC after Leigh had dropped the ball while attacking in the Hull half. Sneyd added the conversion and at 28-6 the points were in the bag for the visitors.
The seventh Hull try, after a first play turnover, saw Andre Savelio cross off a Connor pass after good work from Josh Reynolds. Sneyd added the extras for 34-6 at the interval.
Within a minute of the restart Connor jinked his way through the Leigh defence before finding Connor Wynne to cross to start the second half as they had finished the first. Sneyd added the conversion for Hull who were scoring at just under a point a minute. It was all way too easy, the FC back filling their boots.
Ben Reynolds brought up the double figures for the home side as some Hull defenders broke ranks and allowed him through the broken line. Brierley was unable to add the conversion.
The ninth black and whites try came from Jake Brown after Reynolds, Savelio and Wynne were involved in the play. Sneyd added the conversion for a 46-10 lead.
Hull players were now queuing up to score when Savelio went over for the tenth try for the visitors as he took an pass down the right edge before coming infield to score close to the sticks. Sneyd added the conversion for 52-10. It was now all a matter of how big the winning margin would be.
Ryan Brierley scored a thirty-metre solo try for the Centurions to halt the onslaught, albeit temporarily. Brierley added the conversion for 16-52.
Chris Satae became the ninth FC scorer just before the hour mark after a set restart when on the third play he took a Sneyd pass at pace to crash over under the posts. Sneyd added the conversion.
Savelio got his hat-trick on sixty-nine with Connor the provider once again as he delivered the perfect pass for the second rower to go in. Sneyd kicked his seventh goal of the game for 64-16.
FC were running red hot as they looked for the seventy, but it was Brierley who scored his second of the game for Leigh as they at least showed a little backbone as the clock ran down to full time. The full-back added the conversion for 22-64.
Although Leigh managed more points than their average game score in 2021 they were totally demolished by a Hull FC side who were running red hot from the first hooter to the last. It’s difficult to see where Leighs first points will come from as they play Warrington, Leeds and Hull FC again in their next three outings. FC, on the other hand, will be delighted with their outing across the Pennines as they consolidate fifth spot.
Leigh Centurions: Brierley (2T, 3G), Sa’u, Thornley, Hellewell, Mullen, Reynolds (T), Mellor, Ioane, Hood, Mason, McCarthy, Gee, Bell (T). Subs: Russell, Wildie, Peteru, Peats.
Hull FC: Connor (T), Faraimo (T), Fonua (T), Wynne (T), Swift (2T), Reynolds, Sneyd (8G), Sao, Houghton, Satae (T), Savelio (3T), Ma’u (T), Lane. Subs: Brown (T), Fash, Johnstone, Vulikijapani.
Referee: James Child.
Score Progression: 0-4, 4-4, 6-4, 6-8, 6-12, 6-16, 6-20, 6-22, 6-26, 6-28, 6-32, 6-34 : HT : 6-38, 6-40, 10-40, 10-46, 10-50, 10-52, 14-52, 16-52, 16-56, 16-58, 16-62, 16-64, 20-64, 22-64 : FT.