Beaumont: I take responsibility for Leigh’s position

Keiron Cunningham and Derek Beaumont are hunting for a new head coach
Keiron Cunningham and Derek Beaumont are hunting for a new head coach

Both Derek Beaumont and Kieron Purtill have issued rallying cries after Leigh’s disappointing start to the season which has seen the club win just one of their first five games.

Defeat at Halifax on Sunday - where Leigh trailed 28-0 at half-time - prompted some to suggest that Leigh’s top four hopes were effectively over.

And while disappointed with the way the 2018 season had started, interim coach Purtill urged fans to stick with the club.

“Batley on Sunday is another game we have to win,” said Purtill who remains favourite to take the coach job on a permanent basis. “We need to find some form from somewhere and try and get our combinations going. We need to find some form and ultimately get some wins as well.

“It was massively disappointing at Halifax. Apologies to Derek, he’s invested a lot in this club and also to the fans who follow us week in, week out.”

Leigh were odds-on favourites to win the Championship before a ball was kicked but they currently lie in ninth with just one win to their name. Beaumont bankrolled a major recruitment drive following the club’s relegation from Super League in the Million Pound Game but poor results at the start of the season saw Neil Jukes resign.

Last night Beaumont issued a statement clarifying his position at the club and like Purtill, urged fans to continue backing the team.

He said: “I would like to place on record that despite what may be being speculated about myself and Leigh Centurions that I am still very much involved in the fight to get this Club into the top four of the Betfred Championship from where it can kick on to regain its place in Super League.

“It is a challenge that is becoming increasingly more difficult but is not insurmountable at present. I take full responsibility as the owner of the Club for the position it finds itself in.

“Ultimately any decisions the club has made have been under my leadership and I have agreed with them and enabled them to happen. I believed we were making the right decisions to build a youthful, energetic squad that could return us to Super League and enable us to then build something for the future.

“Most people agreed that is what we had done but at the moment we are not seeing that on the field.

“That said I still believe there is the quality of players required to finish in the top four and I am actively, along with Keiron Cunningham, trying to find the right person to appoint as head coach to lead the group into some self-belief and confidence. This is proving to be difficult but I am committed to adding further financial support to make an appointment.

“Similarly I did the same upon hearing the news of Ben Reynolds’ injury by adding Jordan Lilley to the group last week.

“I understand the fans’ frustrations and I would like to thank all those that showed excellent support after our Featherstone fixture that sent a clear message to me that we are still in the fight. I would also like to thank the large following that went to Halifax to support the lads and to apologise personally for the performance we gave.

“Rugby League is a difficult game to play with anxiety and currently we are full of it. We need some composure and some stability so we can get a couple of wins under our belt to breed confidence and that needs to come from a new leader to the group.

“In the meantime, Kieron Purtill is working tirelessly to do all he can with the rest of the staff and I thank him for stepping up to the plate at this difficult time. I hope this provides some clarity and thank you for your continued support of our club which is greatly needed and appreciated.”

On Sunday, Leigh take a break from the Championship when they visit Batley in the Challenge Cup. Interestingly, Batley are the only team to have been beaten by Leigh this season so they will be desperate to add to the Centurions’ problems.