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23rd May 1997: Wigan 48 Castleford 8

Wigan v Castleford - 1997 Super League II Round 11.
Friday 23rd May 1997. Kick Off 7:30pm at Central Park.

Match Report from www.theboltonnews.co.uk

WHAT better way for Wigan to prepare for Monday's clash with deadly rivals St Helens than to notch up a first hat-trick of wins?

After a shaky start the Warriors have got their act together and another high scoring display moved them up the table. In fact a win over Saints will push them above the Super League champions - an amazing turn-around in fortunes since Easter.

Last night Wigan started as if they had one eye on the derby with bottom club Castleford dominating for the first half hour. But once they had grabbed a couple of opportune tries and got their noses in front Wigan raced away in a blistering second-half.

The half-back combination of Nigel Wright and Tony Smith continues to blossom and with Gary Connolly, Andy Farrell and Simon Haughton in top form the Warriors are aiming for at least second spot in the table.

"The players aren't getting carried away but we have a better balanced look to the side and if we can't win the league we want to finish second," said Wright who is getting better with every game after spending a tortuous two years sidelined with injury.

"We had the Monday game on our minds and it showed with our slow start, but Castleford always give us a hard game. But we picked it up and in the last 20 minutes were really on a roll."

Farrell and Lee Crooks had each added a penalty before Jason Critchley took advantage of some slack tackling to race over and Crooks goaled.,

The Warriors were finding it difficult to contain the Tigers but bounced back with two breakaway tries before the break. Wright picked up a loose ball and raced 30 yards before putting in an inch perfect kick to give Kris Radlinski an easy touchdown. Radlinski turned architect when he broke through and drew two men before sending Robinson racing away and Farrell added both goals.

A minute after the break and Wigan were home and dry when Graham Steadman misjudged the kick-off resulting in a try for Wright which Farrell goaled.

That signalled the start of an electric second-half display which completely devastated the Tigers.

Connolly nipped in for two tries followed by Robinson, Haughton and Smith and Farrell added another four goals.

Coach Eric Hughes was happy with another win but added there was still room for improvement.

"We will get better and it is vital we keep the roll going. It is also important we are lucky with injuries. We have cover in most positions but there are a couple of key roles where players would be sorely missed."

WIGAN: Paul, Robinson, Connolly, Radlinski, Johnson, Wright, Smith, Cowie, Hall, O'Connor, Haughton, Cassidy, Farrell. Subs: Hansen (for O'Connor 24), Holgate (for Cassidy 67), Tallec (for Cowie 50), Cardiss (for Connolly 63), Cowie (for Farrell 69).
 

Wigan Warriors 48   Castleford Tigers 8
Gary Connolly (2)
Jason Robinson (2)
Simon Haughton
Kris Radlinski
Tony Smith
Nigel Wright
 
Tries Jason Critchley
 
Andy Farrell (7)
Henry Paul
 
Goals Lee Crooks (2)
 
  Field Goals  

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