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30th March 1996: Oldham 16 Wigan 56

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Oldham Bears v Wigan Warriors - Stones Super League I Round 1.
Saturday 30th March 1996. Kick Off 6:00pm at Boundary Park.

Match Report from www.theboltonnews.co.uk

The cloud of gloom hanging over Wigan for the past couple of months was quickly blown away when the champions launched their Super League campaign.

The exit from the Challenge Cup coupled with the corruption allegations levelled at the chairman has made the short close season an unhappy time at Central Park.

But the Riversiders know the best way to put all that behind them is by their performances on the field and they responded in true Wigan fashion.

As Edwards explained: "As team captain I said there were a lot of negative vibes and we had to go out and make a statement to the rest of the league. I think we have done that. But one game is no good, we have to keep it up."

Coach Graeme West was delighted with the way his side had responded saying: "At the end of last season we had a couple of below par performances and I wasn't happy with them last week, but this has been fantastic. A great team performance and although we have been worried about the defence, tonight it was superb.

"There has been so much trouble talked about Wigan rugby but the players and officials are behind Jack Robinson and we wanted to go out and put the record straight."

The Super League may be a knew competition but the script was just the same with a magnificent Wigan display matched by an equally dire Oldham one, making the Boundary Park experience an embarrassingly one sided affair on Saturday evening.

Skipper Shaun Edwards marshalled his troops superbly, while Andy Farrell was a tower of strength in the pack. Wigan were far superior than Oldham having the pace in the backs and the power in the forwards, making a mockery of their below-par performance which ended in defeat at Watersheddings last season.

Nothing went right for Oldham even down to the action replay after five minutes when Scott Quinnell clearly knocked on before Martin Offiah touched down, but the try was given.

Fortunately that had little bearing on the final result as Wigan were in a different class. They led 36-0 at the break and although the Bears rallied with tries from Darren Abram, Rob Myler and Francis Maloney, who also kicked two conversions, Wigan replied with an 11 try romp.

Gary Connolly crossed for a hat-trick of tries, with Edwards, Offiah and Kris Radlinski getting two each and one for Henry Paul and Martin Hall. Farrell added six goals.

WIGAN: Radlinski, Robinson, Tuigamala, Connolly, Offiah, Paul, Edwards, Cowie, Hall, O'Connor, Cassidy, Quinnell, Farrell. Subs: Smyth (for Tuigamala 55), Haughton (for Quinnell 27), Skerrett (for O'Connor 27), Johnson (for Paul 66), Quinnell (for Skerrett 75).

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