It’s been a tough start for both clubs on the pitch in 2021. After three League matches Salford and Leigh are both seeking their first victory. Over the years Salford have definitely had the upper hand in this fixture. The last time Leigh won at Salford in a League match UB40 were top of the Singles chart with Red Red wine. Leigh’s victory came in a Slalom Lager Championship match on the 7th September 1983, 6-38 at The Willows.
Salford’s record at Hilton Park wasn’t quite as fruitless, however since Leigh’s move to their new stadium Salford have lost all their visits in competitive competitions.
Despite the long history the two clubs share in the sport top flight success has been fairly limited over the past few decades. Leigh were Challenge Cup winners in 1971 and last won the League Championship in 1982. Salford have waited slightly longer with their last major trophy coming in 1976.
Kevin Ashcroft and Peter Smethurst with the Challenge Cup in 1971.
Over the years player movement between the two clubs has always been fairly busy. The current Leigh squad contains half a dozen former Salford players including the vastly experienced Junior Sau and Tyrone McCarthy.
Leigh gave Wigan an almighty fright in Round one eventually going down to a 18-20 defeat. Defeats to Warrington 44-12 and Castleford 52-16 have exposed a weakness in defence. For Salford the main stumbling block has been their attack. Just a solitary try in each of their three matches has frustrated the players and supporters.
Leigh coach John Duffy played for the Centurions and Salford during his career. Salford coach Richard Marshall played for Leigh for a spell back in 2004/2005.
Super League match record.
2005 Leigh 6 Salford 32 Hilton Park
2005 Salford 42 Leigh 6 The Willows
2005 Leigh 14 Salford 20 Hilton Park
2017 Salford 12 Leigh 6 AJ Bell Stadium
2017 Salford 36 Leigh 22 St James Park Newcastle
2017 Leigh 25 Salford 0 Leigh Sports village
They played for both.
As I mentioned previously their are lots of players who have represented both clubs.
Here is a selection of them,
Stuart Littler, a terrific servant to both clubs.
Luke Adamson, Kevin Ashcroft, Simon Baldwin, Radney Bowker, David Bradbury, John Duffy, Jacob Emmitt, Matt Gardner, Matty Gee, Bobbie Goulding, Danny Halliwell, Harrison Hansen, Gareth Hock, Liam Hood, Peter Smethurst, Stuart Littler, Peter Alstead, Nathan McAvoy, Dean McGilvary, Reni Maitua, Chris Morley, Stephen Nash, Rob Parker, Corey Paterson, John Pendlebury, Michael Platt, Gareth Price, Adam Sidlow, Craig Stapleton, Simon Svabic, John Taylor, Iain Thornley, Mike Wainwright, Ian Watson and Mal Yates.
A match to remember Friday 14th April 2017.
Salford 12 Leigh 6.
Coming into this match Salford were in terrific form. Four wins on the spin including thumping wins away from home against Widnes and Hull plus a 13-12 victory in a pulsating clash with Castleford at the AJ Bell Stadium set the expectations high as Leigh arrived for this Good Friday fixture.
The Centurions had been promoted to the Super League at the end of the previous season and were making a good fist of their 2017 campaign.
This match was a real tense affair. Both sides played some attractive Rugby in a quick tempo first half.
Mitch Brown’s first-half try put Leigh in front but was cancelled out by Kris Welham’s score to make it 6-6 at half-time.
Try scorer in 2017, Kris Welham.
Gareth O’Brien sliced through after a long period of pressure to score a nice try and Michael Dobson added the conversion to put Salford ahead with quarter of an hour to play.
O’Brien’s drop goal attempt to seal it struck an upright, but Salford held on.
Leigh were on the back foot for much of the second half but stayed in contention up until the final hooter. A really enjoyable match finished 12-6.
The teams that day were;
Salford Red Devils: O’Brien; Johnson, Welham, Sa’u, J. Carney; Lui, Dobson; Tasi, Tomkins, Mossop, Jones, Murdoch-Masila, Flanagan.
Subs: Kopczak, Griffin, Wood, Walne.
Leigh Centurions: McNally; Higson, Crooks, Brown, Dawson; Reynolds, Ridyard; Acton, Higham, Tickle, Vea, Stewart, Hansen.
Subs: Pelissier, Weston, Hopkins, Burr.
Referee, Jack Smith.
This match has been billed as a four pointer by pundits and supporters all week. I think it’s a little early in the season to come out with that statement. Leigh missed the majority of last season due to the pandemic situation and coach John Duffy is still getting to grips with top flight rugby.
Salford coach Richard Marshall is still finding his feet and maybe hasn’t quite established his favoured starting thirteen. Both coaches deserve time to build their respective sides. Their is no doubt this match is a very important one but the sun will still come up on Saturday morning for the team that loses.
Salford will be looking for their attack to finally click after struggling to build anything of note in the opening rounds. Leigh like Salford have plenty of pace in the three quarters and with both sides struggling to defend recently this match could yield a few tries.
Salford will be without Andy Ackers who is suspended. The hooker has been a real bright spark in the opening rounds. Injuries to Kallum Watkins, Dan Sarginson and Elijah Taylor are a blow for the Red Devils who have also missed the busy play of Danny Addy. This will give opportunities for other players in the squad to step up.
This promises to be a really exciting match. Over the years these two sides have been involved in some thrilling games along with one or two grudge matches. This one has all the ingredients to be a cracking contest.
The action gets underway at 6pm.
Keep safe and enjoy the match.