Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont quits the club

Derek Beaumont - set to quit Leigh
Derek Beaumont - set to quit Leigh

Leigh owner Derek Beaumont will quit the club following their failure to win back their place in Super League.

As the Centurions cut their losses with the sale of their best players, Beaumont says he is hoping the club can find a new buyer before the end of the season.

Relegated following defeat in the Million-Pound Game last September, Leigh began their Championship campaign as favourites for promotion but failed to recover from a disastrous start and, with just one game left of the regular season, have conceded defeat.

Beaumont invited his players to look for new clubs ahead of Friday's transfer deadline and it is thought at least seven have so far secured moves.

In a statement, Beaumont said: "It was with a heavy heart and tear in my eye that the realisation sunk in that we would not make the Qualifiers. I have said publicly on numerous occasions and privately to the group that my position as owner of the club would become untenable should that happen. The club will receive circa £200k in 2019 from £1.25m this year and circa £1.7m in 2017 and that is a drop too far to sustain the club in its current form.

"To that end I must act in the best interests of the club's ability to survive going forward and in the short term to fulfil this season's fixtures and also to reduce its commitments to make it more attractive to any party that may express an interest in taking it forward.

"This week is deadline week and therefore an ideal opportunity for players to be able to secure their futures elsewhere and at the same time reduce the club's obligations. I am committed to ensuring the club reaches the end of the season and hope during that time a new investor or group of investors can be attracted to take the club forward. I apologise to our loyal fans and sponsors for this failing which ultimately has to rest with me."

Former New Zealand Warriors forward Bodene Thompson became the first player to secure a move when he joined Warrington on a contract to the end of the season.

"The opportunity arose to come here and Warrington is up there as one of the top clubs in Super League so it was a no-brainer really when I got the call," Thompson said.

"I'm looking forward to the next couple of months; it's going to be big step up but I know that and I need to make sure I come here and bring my best, work hard and do all I can for the team."

Widnes and Hull KR, both looking to bolster their squads ahead of their battle for Super League survival in the Qualifiers, have agreed deals with four players, while former Hull second rower Jordan Thompson is thought to be on his way to Leeds and Castleford are heading the queue for full-back Peter Matu'utia.

Club captain Harrison Hansen will be a prize capture for Widnes, along with former Toronto skipper Craig Hall, while ex-Hull and Castleford centre Ben Crooks and former Leeds hooker Liam Hood will make the move to Hull KR.

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