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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 October, 2004, 18:55 GMT 19:55 UK
Leigh 32-16 Whitehaven
Leigh (7) 32
Tries: Cooper 2, Martyn, Turley
Goals: Turley 6
Drops: Turley 2, Rowley, Martyn
Whitehaven (6) 16
Tries: Wilson 2, Calvert
Goals: Nanyn 2
* after extra-time
Leigh have been promoted to Super League after overcoming Whitehaven in extra-time in the National League One Grand Final at the Halton Stadium.

The teams were locked at 16-16 at the final hooter, but Leigh stretched away in extra-time for a famous victory.

Neil Turley was Leigh's hero, scoring 18 points in all and knocking over a 79th-minute drop-goal to keep his side in the match.

The lead changed hands five times in a tense affair before Leigh edged clear.

In front of a capacity 11,005 crowd, Whitehaven made a strong start with Wesley Wilson going over for the opening try after just two minutes.

A Mick Nanyn penalty put Whitehaven 6-0 up after 18 minutes before Turley began the Centurions fightback with a penalty of his own.

Ben Cooper levelled the scores with a try and a Turley drop-goal put his team narrowly in the lead going into the half-time break.

A flowing handling move allowed Whitehaven to regain the lead through Craig Calvert's try, but Leigh again hit back through veteran Tommy Martyn's score.

It's been so close yet so far
Whitehaven coach Steve McCormack
Turley's conversion, followed by a 68th-minute penalty put Leigh back into the ascendancy, but Whitehaven refused to roll over and worked the space for Wilson to cross for his second try and a 16-15 lead.

With the clock ticking down, Turley missed with a long-range penalty but held his nerve soon after to nail a drop-goal and take the match into extra-time.

Leigh gained the psychological edge by scoring first in the added time and never looked back as Cooper and Turley both went over to break Whitehaven's hearts.

Leigh veteran Tommy Martyn said Leigh's win over Whitehaven had provided the perfect end to his career.

The 33-year-old former St Helens player played through the pain of an arm injury to inspire Leigh to victory.

He said: "This is one of the proudest moments of my life to get my home-town team into Super League. To get them to the promised land is unbelievable.

"You put your body on the line and I wanted to put mine on the line to get Leigh into Super League."

Meanwhile, devastated Whitehaven coach Steve McCormack paid tribute to his players' efforts.

"It's difficult but I'm proud of everyone," he said.

"It's been so close yet so far. We had the game in our grasp and unfortunately for us we came up with an error and Leigh kept their composure to get a drop goal to take it to extra-time.

"Our heads went down a little bit but the players have given absolutely everything for this club."

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