This was Week 1 of the Under 20s play offs with 1st Place
Wigan welcoming 4th placed Wakefield to Orrell for a Play
Off Game that would earn the victorious side a week off.
Wigan had finished 9 points ahead of Wakefield, and so
were strong favourites to win, but for the first thirty
minutes they were pretty poor I felt. They did take the
lead with an unconverted try from Matt Crow in the 3rd
Minute but after that - shocking stuff!
In fairness Wakefield were playing very enthusiastically
with half backs Liam Kay and Danny Ansell, along with
hooker Tom Henderson, causing us all sorts of problems.
But their was no excuse for some of the pathetic
defending that Wigan were conceding on their own try line.
They were just standing off making the effort and when they
did halt Wakefield players, they were letting them spin out
During this spell Wakefield scored three tries with
hooker Henderson scoring two of them, either side of a try
for Kyle Trout. Danny Ansell converted two of them to give
Wakefield a deserved 16-4 lead in just 20 minutes.
It continued to be all Wakefield with Wigan coughing up
possession more often than not. Had the visitors claimed
the next score it could have been a long afternoon, but
thankfully it was Wigan that got it with Ryan King scoring
in the right corner on the half hour. Jack Murphy missed a
second conversion but at 16-8 down, we at least had
something to build on.
The nearer half time was approaching, the more desperate
Wakefield began to look for the break. They'd put so much
effort in, you could see them physically tiring and Wigan
took advantage to score two tries in the final three
minutes of the half, which amazingly gave them a half time
First Scott Leatherbarrow then Jack Hughes scored and
with Murphy converting both, Wigan were now 20-16 ahead.
Totally undeserved in my opinion. Wakefield had dominated
the opening half hour.
Second half was much better by Wigan but it was still a
long slog to victory. Next try was always going to be
crucial and we got it on 55 minutes with a try from Sam
Powell. Then on the hour Stefan Marsh scored and with
Murphy converting the first of those two tries, the score
was now 30-16 to Wigan.
It was looking like this game was now won but I felt
Wigan switched off, and this gave Wakefield a sniff in the
last 15 minutes. That switch off perhaps contributed to a
Wildcats try for Andy Tate, scored on 67 minutes, and
although the conversion was missed, they had big hope with
a 30-20 score line.
The visitors really had a dig in the last ten minutes
and were probably worth at least one more score for me but
Wigan hung on to win 30-20 and earn a week off.
So, the Under 20s are now just one match away from a
fourth Grand Final in a row at this level. They'll be back
at Orrell on the weekend of 23rd/24th September and will
get to choose which opponent they want to play between the
winners of this weekends contests - Hull v Castleford and
Wakefield v Leeds. Elsewhere in the top half of the play
off draw, second placed Warrington also earned a week off.