Super League: Leigh Centurions 24-16 St Helens
|Betfred Super League|
|Leigh Centurions (18) 24|
|Tries: Vea, Hock, Acton, Higham Goals: Reynolds 4|
|St Helens (4) 16|
|Tries: Swift, Roby, Walmesly Goals: Percival 2|
Leigh Centurions hung on to beat St Helens for their first Super League win since returning to Britain's top-flight competition after a 12-year absence.
Tries from Atelea Vea, Gareth Hock and Jamie Acton put Leigh 18-4 up at the break, with Saints' only first-half try an acrobatic effort from Adam Swift.
Second-half scores from James Roby and Alex Walmsley gave Saints hope of salvaging something.
But Micky Higham's try ensured Leigh's first Super League win over Saints.
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For former Saints hooker Higham, his try came more than 11 years and five months after he scored for the Merseyside club when they thrashed the Centurions 78-4 in their one and only previous Super League campaign in 2005.
Roby, who also touched down for Saints in the same fixture more than a decade ago, gave the visitors hope of mounting a second-half comeback as his try helped close the gap to eight points early in the second half.
But Higham restored Leigh's 14-point lead with 13 minutes remaining, which proved more than enough as Walmsley went over for a third Saints try.
Leigh's first win in three games lifts them off the bottom and up to ninth following defeats for Wakefield Trinity, Widnes Vikings and Warrington Wolves on Friday.
Leigh head coach Neil Jukes:
"They have worked so hard and came so close last week. It was an incredible atmosphere and we got off to a great start.
"It is a great result for everyone involved in the club.
"Effort wise we were incredible and we have smartened a few things up on the last two games."
St Helens head coach Keiron Cunningham:
"The start was really disappointing - especially after a couple of good weeks of training.
"But I don't want to take anything away from Leigh. They carried the ball in really hard and went straight through us.
"We've created enough chances to win three games but we weren't clinical enough."
Leigh: Brown; Higson, Crooks, Tonga, Dawson; Reynolds, Drinkwater; Hock, Higham, Green, Paterson, Vea, Hansen.
Replacements: Pelissier, Tickle, Hopkins, Acton.
St Helens: Lomax; Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Swift; Fages, Richardson; Amor, Lee, Douglas, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Peyroux, Wilkin.
Replacements: Walmsley, Roby, Thompson, Knowles.
Referee: Ben Thaler.