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18th April 2003: Wigan 24 St Helens 22

Wigan Warriors v St Helens Tetley's Super League VIII Round 6
Good Friday 18th April 2003. Kick Off 12:35pm at JJB Stadium.
CherryandWhite.co.uk Match Report by Rebecca Smith

Good Friday glory

Stuart Raper hailed this derby win the finest victory of his coaching career.

And it's easy to understand why. With nine regulars out injured, he was forced to give debuts to a host of academy players and bring one in from Orrell. Despite this, Wigan clawed back a ten-point, half-time deficit to condemn their bitter rivals to their fourth successive defeat.

Raper said: 'Winning the Challenge Cup is the highlight of my career as a coach but today is the best victory I've been involved with because of the situation.'

'What's happened in the last week makes it an amazing win. '

But he insisted all the plaudits should go to the players and to the clubs medical staff.

'I'm so proud of them. We had so many young blokes out there and blokes carrying injuries. It was just an outstanding effort,' he said.

The two challenge cup semi-final losers were both desperate to end three-match losing runs. And with Saints fielding a virtually full strength team Wigan were given little hope before the game.

As expected Saints took control of the game early on. Inexperience, bad luck and good pressure from Ian Millward's side meant that Wigan barely touched the ball for the first ten minutes. Darren Albert got the first try on nine minutes after scooting round Orrell youngster, Jon Whittle.

Paul Sculthorpe missed the conversion but had been accurate with a penalty earlier. Terry Newton burrowed over from dummy half to give Wigan a lifeline after 16 minutes.

Saints dominance brought further tries from Higham and Hooper before Tickle grabbed one back for the home side. But when debutant Jon Whittle dropped a relatively easy Sculthorpe high kick to let Albert in for four points, it looked for all the world as if Saints were in for an easy win.

But some wonderful defence and team spirit you could almost touch gave Wigan the win.

Shaun Briscoe scored on 45 minutes to close the gap to six points. Tickle converted then added a penalty to bring the Warriors to within two points.

Terry Newton powered over for his second try on 58 minutes to top a great personal display and put Wigan two points ahead. Tickle was just wide with the conversion.

Twenty minutes of sustained Saints pressure followed and yet another late Saints flurry seemed inevitable. But for once it never materialised and Wigan's outstanding defence held firm.

Raper said afterwards: 'Deep down, I thought we were going to be up against it. You don't tell the players that but I do think each one of them thought they were going to struggle a bit.'

'But, once you see them make that first tackle and the positive way they approach the game, you start to believe. This has been building up for a few weeks. The effort has been there but our execution has let us down.' 'Today our defence in the second half was just unbelievable. Saints traditionally score those winning tries at the end but we just weren't going to let it happen. Some of our last-gasp tackles were fantastic.'

Saints boss Ian Millward said: 'The entertainment value was very high but we came up short with the result.'

The cancellation of Easter Monday's game against Leeds now gives Raper's troops some valuable healing time.

Team Sheets




Pos No.
22 Shaun Briscoe Full Back 1 Paul Wellens
5 Brian Carney Wing 5 Darren Albert
18 Martin Aspinwall Centre 3 Martin Gleeson
4 Paul Johnson Centre 16 Darren Smith
27 Jon Whittle Wing 19 Ade Gardner
15 Sean O'Loughlin Stand Off 13 Paul Sculthorpe
7 Adrian Lam Scrum Half 7 Sean Long
8 Terry O'Connor Prop 8 Darren Britt
9 Terry Newton Hooker 14 Mick Higham
10 Craig Smith Prop 10 Barry Ward
21 Ricky Bibey 2nd Row 11 Chris Joynt
12 Danny Tickle 2nd Row 12 John Stankevitch
17 Mark Smith L.Forward 6 Jason Hooper
16 Danny Sculthorpe Sub 2 Anthony Stewart
24 David Allen Sub 15 Tim Jonkers
25 Kevin Brown Sub 18 Mark Edmondson
26 Mark Roberts Sub 22 Stuart Jones

Score Sheet

Wigan Warriors 24-22 St Helens

Tries (4):
Terry Newton 2
Danny Tickle
Shaun Briscoe

Tries (4):
Darren Albert 2
Mick Higham
Jason Hooper

Danny Tickle 4/4

Paul Sculthorpe 3/5

Scoring and Incident Pattern

07mins:19 Wigan 00 St Helens 02 Penalty Goal: Paul Sculthorpe (1/1)
09mins:31 Wigan 00 St Helens 06 Try: Darren Albert
- Wigan 00 St Helens 06 P.Sculthorpe Missed Conversion (1/2)
15mins:37 Wigan 04 St Helens 06 Try: Terry Newton
- Wigan 06 St Helens 06 Conversion: Danny Tickle (1/1)
18mins:00 Wigan 06 St Helens 10 Try: Mick Higham
- Wigan 06 St Helens 12 Conversion: Paul Sculthorpe (2/3)
27mins:13 Wigan 06 St Helens 16 Try: Jason Hooper
- Wigan 06 St Helens 18 Conversion: Paul Sculthorpe (3/4)
34mins:59 Wigan 10 St Helens 18 Try: Danny Tickle
- Wigan 12 St Helens 18 Conversion: Danny Tickle (2/2)
39mins:18 Wigan 12 St Helens 22 Try: Darren Albert (2)
- Wigan 12 St Helens 22 P.Sculthorpe Missed Conversion (3/5)
Half Time Wigan Warriors 12 St Helens 22
45mins:26 Wigan 16 St Helens 22 Try: Shaun Briscoe
- Wigan 18 St Helens 22 Conversion: Danny Tickle (3/3)
57mins:48 Wigan 22 St Helens 22 Try: Terry Newton (2)
- Wigan 24 St Helens 22 Conversion: Danny Tickle (4/4)
Full Time Wigan Warriors 24 St Helens 22


Karl Kirkpatrick (Warrington)

Match Attendance


CherryandWhite.co.uk Star Man

Terry Newton


Dry and Sunny.

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