Matty Ashton scored an eight-minute second-half hat-trick as Warrington maintained their perfect start to the season with a 38-20 win over Leigh last night.
The Leopards came into this game off the back of a win over world champions St Helens but they were caught cold early on and find themselves behind within the first minute as Josh Drinkwater finished off a great try, following a Matt Dufty break.
Warrington were in again within the first 10 minutes as Paul Vaughan powered over to make it 10-0, but Leigh did respond quickly as Tom Briscoe went in out wide to reduce the deficit to six.
The Wolves are hot this year under Daryl Powell though and they opened breathing space again when Stefan Ratchford was quickest to react to a loose ball, following a Drinkwater kick.
As half-time approached the homes side extended their lead further, Dufty this time the finisher after Drinkwater and Daryl Clark had broke through the middle of Leigh’s defence from deep.
Adrian Lam’s Leopards were able to get their second try before the break though, this time Josh Charnley the scorer as he produced a trademark acrobatic finish out wide – half-time seeing Warrington 22-8 in front.
Powell’s men started the second half like they did the first, scoring within three minutes through Ashton in what would be the first of three quick-fire scores for the winger.
Within eight minutes the flyer had a hat-trick, all were short range finishes in the left hand corner, with his second in particular requiring bravery as he was taken high in an eight-point try – it turned out to only be a six-point try though with Ratchford missing the initial conversion attempt.
Leigh hooker Edwin Ipape was also sin-binned just before Ashton completed his hat-trick, with that yellow card for a late challenge on Daryl Clark pretty much ending any hop the Leopards had of victory – Warrington now ahead 38-8.
The scores remained the same up until 10 minutes from time with Sam Kasiano’s sin-binning allowing the visitors to finish the game strongly as Tom Amone and Zak Hardaker went over.
Those two late scores made the final result look more respectable for the Leopards, but it was Warrington’s night as they prevailed 38-20 to make it five wins from five to remain at the top of the Super League table.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Terry O’Connor was full of praise for hat-trick hero Ashton:
“Everyone thinks Matt Dufty has lots of speed well what about this lad, ever since he stepped up to Super League he has been outstanding has Matty Ashton. He scores some tremendous tries.”
Meanwhile, Phil Clarke suggested that Ashton could this year’s top try scorer despite the try scoring exploits of Liam Marshall early in the season scoring eight tries in three games and the tries scored by Bevan French last night.
“Are we looking at Super League’s top try scorer in Matty Ashton?” Clarke asked.
Time will certainly reveal the answer.