Wigan secured their third consecutive
win in the Valvoline Cup after over coming a period of St.
Helens pressure in each half in a furiously fast contest.
The 40-22 result was in the balance
until a spectacular solo effort from substitute Matthew
Crow eleven minutes from time put the Warriors out of
sight. It was his second try in a stand out performance
after coming off the bench.
Wigan looked comfortable at 18-6 three
minutes before the break, but with the help of a Danny
Yates try at the stroke of half time, Saints clawed their
way to a two-point deficit with twenty minutes to go. A
late rally from the hosts though, ensured the large crowd
wouldn’t be biting their nails until the final whistle.
It was Saints who started the stronger
side in an intense first quarter which saw Joe Greenwood
stretch to get the ball on the line after Saints made use
of the territory gained from a penalty on 15 minutes.
It took Wigan ten minutes to even the
score with a clever try from dummy half for Liam Carberry,
but only after Wigan had blown two earlier chances;
knocking-on after receiving a penalty for a high tackle
followed by a wild pass into touch from Amos Roberts four
Once on the board, Wigan looked to have
taken hold of the game with another Carberry try following
a try saving tackle on James Greenwood as he collected
Roberts’ neat pass once he’d broken the line.
Six minutes later, Roberts was again
involved as he put a neat grubber through a gap in the
Saints defence for Matthew Russell to collect and finish
the move. Jack Murphy was good on all three attempts at
Wigan began the second half as Saints
had the first, and Johnny Walker got his reward for an
afternoon of strong running by grabbing a try on 48
minutes. The field position had come from a Matthew Crow
break followed by a penalty for a high shot on Shay Lyon
Fraser, who was strong under constant tests under the high
At 24-10 Saints weren’t done, and after
a series of big gains from the forwards, Anthony Walker
crashed over underneath a heap of Wigan defenders. Five
minutes later, Saints were back in the game and had the
momentum when Danny Yates grabbed his second following a
break from Nathan Ashe. Tommy Johnson added the conversion
to set up what should have been a tense finale at 24-22.
Wigan had other ideas, and through a
combination of tough defence and keeping the ball alive
enjoyed a dominant final quarter. Crow grabbed the first of
his brace on 65 minutes thanks to some acrobatics from
Johnny Walker. Chasing a kick into the in-goal, Walker
palmed the ball back when it looked liked going dead for
the substitute to pounce on, and bettered that four minutes
later with a massive run which began ten metres in his own
half. Weaving through the Saints three-quarters, Crow broke
the line and just about had the legs to beat a diving
effort from Ashe at his ankles to put the result beyond
For good measure Matthew Russell scored
a near copy of Crow’s from 40 metres with five minutes to
go. Murphy’s only missed shot at goal followed to finalise