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Match Report: Bradford 22 Wigan 26
Posted by Bilko on May 23 2011 - 00:10

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Sunday 22nd May 2011
Bradford Bulls 22 Wigan Warriors 26
Odsal Stadium, Bradford
Carnegie Challenge Cup Round 5

Kick Off 3:30pm

 

- Wigan       - Bradford    
1 Sam Tomkins  T      25 Shad Royston  T   
25 Josh Charnley       19 Gareth Raynor    
12 Joel Tomkins       1 Michael Platt    
2 Darrell Goulding       12 Elliott Whitehead  T   
5 Pat Richards  T2   G3    5 Patrick Ah Van  T2   G3 
17 Brett Finch  T      32 Kyle Briggs    
7 Thomas Leuluai       33 Ben Jeffries    
10 Andy Coley       10 Andy Lynch    
9 Michael McIlorum       9 Heath L'Estrange    
21 Lee Mossop       15 Bryn Hargreaves    
16 Ryan Hoffman       11 Olivier Elima    
22 Liam Farrell  T      17 Ian Sibbitt    
13 Sean O'Loughlin       13 Jamie Langley    
Interchange:
6 Paul Deacon       14 Matt Diskin    
14 Paul Prescott       16 Craig Kopczak    
15 Jeff Lima       23 Tom Olbison    
23 Chris Tuson       29 Tom Burgess    

Report: 

Well the fact it was blowing a gale didn't help this contest what so ever but overall I thought it was a poor display from Wigan. Bradford fans meanwhile are hailing this loss as their best performance of the season and seem very proud of that effort.

I think it's fair to say that the Bulls defended far better than most would have expected, given their recent form, so having played poor I think we should be pleased to have gotten through to the Quarter Finals, which stupidly don't take place till mid July!

I'm noticing that Bulls coach Mick Potter claims the red card to Gareth Raynor was a "turning point" in this match. Personally I'm not so sure, because only one of Wigan's five tries came whilst we had a man advantage and Bradford claimed three of their four tries whilst they were a man short.

From a Wigan point of view, I don't think the red card changed the game at all and that is disappointing. We struggled to create anything after Sam Tomkins left the field and I thought the pack lacked punch all afternoon. Just a really poor display I thought, but we got the win and I think that's all that matters in cup rugby.

Coach Michael Maguire made a couple of changes with Darrell Goulding replacing the injured George Carmont at left centre and Paul Prescott returning to the bench at the expense of Jack Hughes.

It looked like Wigan had got off to a great start and they should have taken the lead after just 80 seconds of the contest. Ryan Hoffman's pass sent Pat Richards over in the left corner but you have to credit Michael Platt who dislodged the bal before he could ground it.

After that, the early stages turned into a midfield tussle with very little attacking action. That was until the 10th minute when, kicking into the gale, Sam Tomkins fumbled a last tackle kick from Kyle Briggs. Two passes later, Elliott Whitehead was over for the score, which was given by the video referee. Patrick Ah Van converted to make it 6-0.

The game continued to be bogged down in midfield with very little happening until the 19th minute. It was possibly Wigan's first real attack since that no try early on but a familiar move got Pat over this time. Mike McIlorum received the play the ball under the posts, he threw left to Thomas Leuluai, who in turn found Sean O'Loughlin. You know the rest, he loves his long cut out passes and he by-passed two attackers to create the overlap for the winger, i.e Pat. to score from. Easy touch down, but in the wind it was not an easy conversion and his kick went wide.

A knock on from McIlorum put Wigan on the back foot straight after that try but although Bradford forced a drop out they couldn't claim a try. A few minutes later, Wigan themselves forced a drop out, after a towering bomb from Richards was allowed to bounce, but Bradford themselves survived that pressure.

It was at this point that coach Maguire switched things with Paul Deacon coming off the bench to replace Mike McIlorum and thus Leuluai switched to hooker. Within two minutes of that change, Wigan took the lead for the first time.

Deacon's pass found Brett Finch who in turn sent Ryan Hoffman on the half break. He was well tackled by Jamie Langley but got a beautiful offload away to send Sam Tomkins away. Sam's nifty footwork completely mugged three Bulls defenders but in the process of scoring he was hit high on the cheek by a desperate Gareth Raynor.

Raynor's swinging arm had knocked Sam out cold and he couldn't really complain at being given the red card by referee Steve Ganson. I do think further suspension would be harsh, I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt that it was a mistimed rather than a malicious challenge, but what baffles me is why a rare 8 point try wasn't awarded? This is what the RFL's rules state on that issue.....

"If a player fouls an opponent who is touching down for a try, a penalty kick at goal shall be taken from in front of the goal posts after the attempt to convert the try."

If that is not "fouling an opponent who is touching down for a try", what is?

Like I said, the challenge had knocked Sam unconscious and ended his afternoon but that still didn't stop some opposition fans on social media accusing him of faking it! Seriously.......go to your room and shut up!

The game was drifting towards half time but Ganson piped up again four minutes before the break to produce another card. This time it was a yellow for Jeff Lima for apparent "contact with head" although you can't see anything on the TV replays. This was given on the advice of touch judge Tim Roby and it was right in front of him so you have to take his word. Wigan had been warned twice that action was on the way so it shouldn't really have been a surprise.

Although no further scoring would take place before half time, Lima's yellow card still meant the first 6 minutes of the second half would be a 12 v 12 contest and it was during this period (not whilst it was 13 v 12) that Wigan won the game I think. They scored two quick back to back tries to put themselves 22-6 ahead.

First, on 43 minutes, Finch did well to trap a kick from Kyle Briggs with his feet. He scooped up and race 80 metres unopposed for the third try of his Wigan career so far. Then, on just the third tackle after the restart, Wigan went left with Finch, Richards and Hoffman combining to send Darrell Goulding on the half break. Ball in one hand and heading into touch, he brilliantly offloaded to send Richards clear under the posts from thirty metres out. Pat took the piss out of the lazy last defender by rounding him off to touch down under the sticks. He converted both those tries for the 22-6 lead.

Now at this point your thinking Lima is about to return, we've a 22-6 lead and now will have a man advantage. It was pretty reasonable to expect Wigan to just burst clear now and rack up an easy win in the end. Didn't happen though. Credit to Bradford, they kept going but Wigan never really kicked on and, like I said earlier, that was disappointing.

What gave Bradford the hope of a comeback was the fact they hit back within two minutes. Not helped by the wind, Wigan had let the ball bounce dead and Bradford marched up field with the help of a penalty after the drop out. Patrick Ah Van claimed a try in the right corner, after a good offload from Ben Jeffries, then he converted from the sideline to make it 22-12. Wigan could have hit straight back themselves but although Chris Tuson touched the ball down, it had clearly gone dead.

After that Wigan had opportunities to kill the game but really lacked patience and were creating too many errors. I still thought 22-12 was a comfortable winning position for us but all that changed when Bradford claimed another try on 64 minutes.

Nice try as well. Kyle Briggs put a lovely grubber in towards the posts and Shad Royston touched down. Easy conversion for Ah Van left the score at just 22-18 to Wigan with 15 to play.

This game was now massively in the balance and for the next ten minutes or so the sides just traded possession with very few attacking chances but a Bradford error on half way helped Wigan towards the winning score.

Wigan had ground their way towards the line and had reached the last tackle but they got a "back to one" after Jeffries raced out to try and block a kick that never materialised. From that, Liam Farrell put in a couple of good hit ups before being sent in by Finch at close range. Pat's conversion missed but an 8 point lead with five minutes to go was always too much, unless we were going to get the irony of all ironies with an 8 point Bradford try - you just never know with Ganson in the middle.

Bradford did claim a consolation try but it came too late, with just 21 seconds remaining, as Ah Van scored his second. Debatable whether he grounded it, but the video refs always give those finger tip efforts. He hit another sweet conversion off the touchline but the hooter sounded before the game restarted and Wigan had hung on to a 26-22 win.

I'll finish with this final point. It was a poor display, but it's worth noting that we only received 2 penalties all match. Great Bradford discipline, and yes we had a man advantage for 40 minutes of the contest, but I'm not convinced many sides could win games receiving that few amount of penalties. Same against Saints last month. Just 1 penalty received and we still won. Salford away, three penalties only, still won. Saints in Cardiff, also just three penalties recieved, we didn't lose! So that has to be pleasing that we are not having to rely on penalties to help us win games. Ok it might not be pretty at times but this is a far cry from previous years were we really needed penalties to help us in many, many matches. It's another great facet of improvement under Michael Maguire.

Scoring: 
09mins:55 Bradford 04 Wigan 00 Try: Elliott Whitehead
- Bradford 06 Wigan 00 Conversion: Patrick Ah Van (1/1)
18mins:47 Bradford 06 Wigan 04 Try: Pat Richards
- Bradford 06 Wigan 04 P.Richards Missed Conversion (0/1)
30mins:38 Bradford 06 Wigan 08 Try: Sam Tomkins
30mins:42 Bradford Red Card Gareth Raynor (High Tackle on S.Tomkins)
- Bradford 06 Wigan 10 Penalty Goal: Pat Richards (1/2)
36mins:06 Wigan Sin Bin Jeff Lima (Contact with Head after Team Warning)
Half Time Bradford Bulls 6 Wigan Warriors 10
42mins:42 Bradford 06 Wigan 14 Try: Brett Finch
- Bradford 06 Wigan 16 Conversion: Pat Richards (2/3)
45mins:55 Bradford 06 Wigan 20 Try: Pat Richards
- Bradford 06 Wigan 22 Conversion: Pat Richards (3/4)
47mins:56 Bradford 10 Wigan 22 Try: Patrick Ah Van
- Bradford 12 Wigan 22 Conversion: Patrick Ah Van (2/2)
63mins:51 Bradford 16 Wigan 22 Try: Shad Royston
- Bradford 18 Wigan 22 Conversion: Patrick Ah Van (3/3)
74mins:24 Bradford 18 Wigan 26 Try: Liam Farrell
- Bradford 18 Wigan 26 P.Richards Missed Conversion (3/5)
79mins:39 Bradford 22 Wigan 26 Try: Patrick Ah Van (2)
- Bradford 22 Wigan 26 P.Ah Van Missed Conversion (3/4)
Full Time Bradford Bulls 22 Wigan Warriors 26
Referee: 

Steve Ganson

Attendance: 

5,828

Results: 

2011 Challenge Cup Round 5 Results

Friday 20th May 2011
Leeds Rhinos 40 Harelquins 20
Salford City Reds 0 Hull Kingston Rovers 25
Warrington Wolves 112 Swinton Lions 0

Saturday 21st May 2011
Widnes Vikings 26 Hull FC 50
Wakefield 18 Castleford 20 (after Golden Point Extra Time - Live on BBC 1)

Sunday 22nd May 2011
Huddersfield Giants 30 Catalan Dragons 16
St Helens 70 Featherstone Rovers 0
Bradford Bulls 22 Wigan Warriors 26 (Live on BBC 2)

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