Well after building up a 42-0 lead in just 27
minutes, it was an air of disappointment at full time at the DW
tonight because Wigan just didn't kick on and rack up a huge score.
In fairness, Harlequins did improve after a
diabolical first half hour but Wigan just switched off. At the end
of the day, I don't suppose it matters, two points is two points,
but it was particularly disappointing tonight considering we had an
hefty lead so early.
You just cannot fault the first thirty minutes
though. Wigan completely ripped the Quins apart with 7 tries in
those first 27 minutes. First try was on just three minutes before
Quins had even touched the football. First last tackle of the match
and Pat Richards put a huge bomb up in the air. Full Back Jamie
O'Callaghan flapped at it and moments later Pat was sent over in
the left corner by George Carmont. He then converted off the
touchline to make it 6-0.
Second try was on 8 minutes. Short range effort,
Tommy Leuluai providing the pass to send Ryan Hoffman through a
huge hole. Then on 11 minutes George Carmont raced under the posts
after being thrown a gift interception on half way then three
minutes later the fourth try went in. Mike McIlorum broke from 60
metres out to send the supporting Sam Tomkins under the sticks for
the 50th try of his young Wigan career. He has achieved that in
just 76 appearances, maybe I'll have a look how that compares with
other Wigan players of the past on the site during next week.
Anyway, add in easy conversions for Pat to all those tries and the
score was 24-0 after 13 minutes.
One person who can compare to Sam is Leuluai
himself because he too claimed the 50th try of his Wigan career
when he went over for the second of two quick tries in a row.
However, it's taken Tommy 146 games to reach that mark, almost
twice as long as Sam. Tommy's first try was his trademark effort.
Ten metres out he spun out of tackles and reached over near the
posts. Then that 50th try saw him go on a diagonal run from ten
Carmont could have claimed his 50th Wigan try as
well tonight but although he had scored his 49th earlier in the
game, he would come off the field (not sure why) after 30 minutes,
with Ryan Hoffman switching to play at left centre for the rest of
the game. Before Hoffman moved position however he set the next try
with a break up the middle from sixty metres out and this time it
was Sean O'Loughlin in support to go under the sticks. More easy
kicks for Pat had stretched the lead to 42-0 after 27 minutes.
42-0 was on pace with the 106-8 victory over
Whitehaven in 2008 and you couldn't help feeling that a huge score
was on the cards but it just didn't happen. Although the slow down
was happening before the break, the interchange of Mike McIlorum at
half time played it's part. He was superb during the first 40 but
at half time he was replaced by Paul Deacon and we just didn't have
the same go forward from dummy half with Leuluai at hooker. By the
time McIlorum returned, Quins had grown in confidence.
Early in the second half came a bizarre moment
when an own half last tackle kick from Wigan hit referee James
Child. The rule is that he has to put a scrum down and give
possession to the attack (i.e Wigan). After a bit of confusion (in
fact it looked like Wigan had to tell him the rules) he reluctantly
gave the scrum to Wigan. Worth targeting the ref really in that
situation but he soon gave Quins a suspicious knock
Wigan claimed the first score after half time on
53 minutes. It should have been Paul Deacon's but it was Sam
Tomkins who eventually touched it down. Deacon had put a little
grubber through from close range but was clearly held back from
touching it down. Didn't matter because Sam scored anyway. Pat
converted easily again to make it 48-0.
Wigan could have had more scores in the final 25
minutes but I have to say........Sam.........greedy, greedy,
greedy. At least twice he could have sent players in for a couple
of possible scores but he kept hold. Hard to fault the lad really
but that's still proves he has little things to learn.
The game just drifted out and Wigan were very
disappointed to concede the nil with just three minutes to go. It
had been coming I think, James Child gave Quins every decision
going to try and get them over the line. It told when ex Warrior
Mark Calderwood went over in the right corner. Nice conversion by
Luke Gale making it 48-6.
Wigan though did claim the last try of the game
in the 79th minute after Quins had knocked on the restart. Nice
move from the scrum, Brett Finch combined with Sam on the run
around for the latter to send Richards over easily in the corner.
Pat then nailed his ninth conversion from nine off the touchline to
complete a personal haul of 26 points for him.
Pat is on fire with the boot isn't he? He has
kicked 39 goals from 45 attempts since his return. Before his
injury our conversion rate was just 66.6% but since then we have an
86.9% conversion rate. I've a feeling goal kicking could be the key
to winning the title this year, so that is good to see!
So at the end of the day, job done I suppose.
The lads now have a 9 day break before the cup tie at Bradford. On
this evidence, I think it's fair to say that the only way we will
lose is if our standards fall dramatically because at the moment we
are looking pretty good and I still think we are leaving plenty in