Widnes Vikings fell to a 36-22 defeat to Leigh Centurions, as they brought the curtain down on the 2019 Summer Bash at Bloomfield Road.
After falling 24 points behind, Widnes threatened a late comeback, however they fell just short before Leigh crossed in the dying moments to seal the two points.
Kieron Purtill made four changes for the trip to Blackpool, as Harrison Hansen, Tom Gilmore and Owen Buckley returned from injury, with trialist Josh Ganson making his debut.
The Vikings had to soak up some early pressure on their own line, as a penalty advanced Leigh into the Widnes half, where they also picked up a repeat set after Gilmore knocked down a Brierley pass.
Some heroic defending held Micky Higham up just short, before Buckley ushered the Centurions’ kick across the dead ball line and in doing so gain a 20-metre restart.
Up the other end of the field, Danny Craven forced a goal-line drop-out before a penalty handed Widnes an opportunity to open the scoring, as Lloyd Roby kicked a two-pointer.
Joe Cator then made a break through the middle for Leigh immediately after, which saw Roby penalised for stealing the ball, giving Martyn Ridyard the chance to level the scores.
On 17 minutes, the Vikings crossed for their first try, as Craven’s restart found touch and gave his side a scrum 10 metres from the Centurions line. From the resulting set, Gilmore’s cross-field kick was collected by Buckley who raced in at the flag to open up a 6-2 lead.
Tempers began to flare with a coming together off the ball, and when Jay Chapelhow coughed up possession on halfway Leigh began a period of dominance. On 25 minutes they hit the front, as a penalty against Buckley led to Toby Adamson powering over from close range.
With Craven’s restart finding touch on the full, the Centurions were in again as Liam Hood managed to offload the ball over the try line, where Gregg McNally was waiting for a simple score.
With four minutes of the half remaining, Buckley dropped a towering bomb from Ridyard, before Josh Woods stabbed a kick in behind the defensive line which Brierley raced on to, making it 18-6 at the break.
Ridyard extended the Centurions’ lead two minutes into the second half with a penalty goal, before Iain Thornley’s break led to Brierley scoring his second try of the evening, opening up a 26-6 advantage.
A 40/20 from Ridyard then put Leigh on the front foot again, with James Laithwaite barging over from close range to bring up 30 points.
The Vikings’ comeback began on 56 minutes, as Craven stepped his way over from close range to the delight of the travelling supporters.
Five minutes later, the ball was shipped through hands by Widnes before Roby bounced up from the floor to find a hole in the Leigh defence, cutting the deficit to 12 points.
It was an eight-point game on 66 minutes, as Sam Wilde find a gap on the left edge before handing possession on to the supporting Craven, who managed to ride the tackle of Ridyard and plant the ball down over the line.
Despite their best attempts, Widnes couldn’t find their way over the try line again, and the game was put to bed with three minutes left on the clock, as Gregg McNally dove over out wide, with Ridyard bringing the scoring to an end with his conversion.