IT was a case of too little too late for Widnes as they couldn’t pull back the Leigh Centurions despite a late rally.

The final scoreline of 36-22 reflected the fact the Centurions dominated the first 50 minutes of the game before the Vikings fought back.

Widnes boss Kieron Purtill made a number of changes from the team that lost 26-6 to Wakefield in the Challenge Cup nine days earlier.

Lloyd Roby replaced the suspended Jack Owens at fullback and Owen Buckley returned from injury on the left wing.

Tom Gilmore finally shook off his hamstring issues to partner Danny Craven in the halves and trialist hooker Josh Ganson was given a place on the bench.

Leigh enjoyed the early field position but the Vikings goalline defence was initially solid.

While the Centurions turned down an early kickable penalty, Widnes took the opportunity to establish a 2-0 lead when the opportunity arose with Roby chipping the ball between the posts.

Leigh equalised when Martin Ridyard slotted a penalty goal over after a ball steal but the Vikings crossed for the first try of the match when Gilmore’s cross-kick was taken by Buckley who touched down in the corner.

However, that was as good as it got in the first half for Widnes.

A midfield scuffle seemed to galvanise Leigh and they hit back when second row Toby Adamson hit a short ball to cross for a six-pointer.

Craven’s restart kick sailed out on the full putting the Centurions straight back on the front foot and they took full advantage with Liam Hood’s pass allowing Greg McNally to squeeze over on the right to make it 12-6 on 27 minutes.

When Buckley spilled a downtown kick in his own ‘20’, Leigh once again were clinical as Josh Woods short kick was latched onto by Ryan Brierley who crossed by the posts with the Centurions going in at the break with an 18-6 lead.

A further Ridyard penalty increased the lead by two further points early in the second half and almost immediately a superb combination between Hood and Iain Thornley saw the latter send Brierley scampering over from half-way with Ridyard converting.

On 47 minutes, Leigh went in again after pressure on the Vikings line with James Laithwaite the scorer from close range.

At 30-6, Widnes looked down and out.

The Vikings players had other ideas.

On 56 minutes, Craven dummied his way over under the posts and five minutes later Roby did well after having his ankle tapped to regain his feet and head behind the sticks to reduce the arrears to 30-18.

When Craven and Sam Wilde combined up the left edge with the former’s momentum taking him to the line, an unlikely comeback looked possible though Roby missed with the goal.

Leigh managed to steady the ship and with four minutes remaining crisp passing got McNally over for his second try with Ridyard goalling superbly from wide out.

Widnes: Roby; Hatton, Dean, Brand, Buckley; Craven, Gilmore; J Chapelhow, Johnstone, T Chapelhow, Wilde, Walker, Cahill. Subs: Hansen, Ganson, Farnworth, Leuluai.

Leigh: Ridyard; McNally, Thornley, Simm, Marsh; Brierley, Woods; Douglas, Higham, Emmitt, Adamson, Laithwaite, Cahill. Subs: Hood, Spencer, A Thornley, Batchelor.

Half-Time: 6-18 Referee: Mr G Dolan Attendance: 7,158