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Challenge Cup Match Report: Featherstone 16 Wigan 32
Posted by cherryandwhite on April 28 2012 - 13:02

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Featherstone Rovers v Wigan Warriors - Carnegie Challenge Cup Round 5.
Friday 27th April 2012. Kick Off 8:00pm at Post Office Road (Big Fella's Stadium).

Match Report

"This will be a tough cup tie. We will be forced to battle for victory".

That's a direct quote from my match preview and that's exactly how it panned out. Wigan had to fight all the way in seeing off Championship Champions Featherstone on a boggy Post Office Road pitch.

The home side defended superbly on the night to make Wigan work hard for their tries but for me that was a fair end result. Wigan controlled the second half with Rovers only try after the break coming from an intercept following a clear two on one ball strip. If that try hadn't of happened this game could have been more 40-12 than 32-16, but the end result was a better reflection of the home sides efforts on the night.

I think its fair to say the conditions suited the home side. The boggy pitch stifled our speedy backs and made this game very much a forwards battle, and what a keenly contested battle that was! Rovers didn't budge many inches all night in standing up to our strong pack, but I thought it was the quality of Mike McIlorum and Brett Finch in around the try line that proved the ultimate difference between the two sides.

Wigan got off to a dodgy start with a knock on called against Jeff Lima just 30 seconds into the contest, but soon made amends for that on their first attack. I talked about McIlorum and Finch at the heart of this win and it was those two that set this up. Micky Mc with the initial work from dummy half, then a quick play the ball sees Finch gets the ball and fire a lovely pass that cut out two defenders and allowed captain Sean O'Loughlin to score. It was close to interception in fairness but that's the fine margins that Finch likes to pull off. Sam Tomkins for some reason was on goal kicking and he converted for 6-0.

The clock ticked passed 15 minutes with the score still only 6-0 to Wigan. Some murmurs on the terraces of Wigan being poor during the first half, I didn't necessarily buy that myself. I thought it was a good hard even contest. Yes, Wigan were making one or two errors but I can't say I was ever concerned too much about that. Even after Rovers claimed two tries in a three minute spell either side of the 20 minute mark.

Their first try came from Tommy Saxton. Anthony Gelling was guilty of a loose carry when hitting up from our own scrum. Rovers Jon Hepworth scooped up the loose ball and because of the scrum our defence was never set to recover from that and Saxton was in the corner easy. Liam Finn couldn't convert so Wigan still led 6-4. Must admit I was murmuring about a two on one ball strip at the game but I think it was a loose carry seeing it again at home.

Now the next "try" for me is a total garbage decision. First of all Wigan were penalised for offside at the kick off. I wouldn't have a problem with that if it was consistently officiated but it never is. That put Fev right back on the attack and pretty soon they were over again. It was decided that Ian Hardman had touched down a kick from Finn but it still doesn't look like he grounded it to me. I think that's a knock on. Either way why don't we cut the garbage and just have the rule being a full hand on the ball with pressure constitutes a try? We'd all know where we stood then! Anyway it was given and with Finn's conversion it was now 10-6 to Featherstone.

Wigan showed their calm composed play by not panicking and quickly responding with their own score within two minutes. McIlorum again with the initial work up the middle then they swung right with Sam and O'Loughlin combining to send Goulding chiming at the line. His dummy to Charnley fooled Finn and Fuzzy was in the right corner to level the scores. Sam had tweaked a groin in this period of play, so Josh Charnley took over on goal kicking, but he missed this effort.

We could have increased that lead on 32 minutes but Anthony Gelling had a try chalked off for obstruction in back play before Featherstone had a good spell on the back of that. They forced a repeat set and got a good breather deep in our half when Harrison Hansen suffered a vicious injury under the posts. Trying to tackle Stuart Dickens, his cheekbone clashed with Dickens' head and then for a double whammy his nose butted the same players head. Possible fractured cheekbone and a clear broken nose for H, but amazingly he would return later. Long term though that has to be a lengthy absence in the next few weeks?

Soon after that Rovers got a cheap penalty to give them a 12-10 lead that they almost held until the break, but Wigan scored in the final minute of the half. They got an interference penalty and straight from the tap, that man Finch nailed Gareth Hock with a perfect pass to send him charging over by the posts. Easy conversion for Charnley, despite a green laser pen being shone in his eye, made it 16-12 to Wigan at the break.

During the oranges I think we sorted out what was needed to win this game. Firstly patience and then a better kicking game. I thought the latter was superb after the break. We pinned Featherstone back in their out quarter time and time again.

I write it every week but the first try of the second half is often the game breaker and for Wigan to claim it, and thus build up a two score lead, enabled them further to get control of this contest. It took 13 minutes to come, and perhaps a bit of good fortune with a back to one in the build up, but Leuluai managed to stretch over from close range in the right corner. Have to say Brian Carney's attempts on Sky's coverage to claim he knocked that on were frankly laughable. A big conversion from Josh made it 22-12.

Wigan were now a try away from taking total control of the game for me but a terrible officiating blunder got Rovers back into the contest. 58th Minute and its clear as day on the video. Brett Finch has possession in from of the attacking sticks and he is ball stripped by Finn with two men in the tackle. Now I had my eye on referee Richard Silverwood and he simply wasn't watching. You even hear him on the TV coverage shout "two" for the second tackle after Finn had run ten metres. I still had my eye on Silverwood and, seriously, Finn had got well past half way before he even reacted to the breakaway.

Now had Wigan just stopped and allowed Finn to score this would have been chalked off by the video referee for the ball strip but because one tackle was made before the try was scored, that choice was ruled out. So the try was awarded. That wasn't Featherstone's fault but to be frank it was bone idle officiating. What are the touch judges doing as well? Anyway the break meant Wigan's defence never recovered and Gareth Raynor went over in the right corner. Although Finn missed the extras - the score was now 22-16 and from Wigan being in control it was now game on again.

Wigan though again, they didn't flap, they didn't panic, they just went back to basics and re-established their two score lead six minutes later. Leuluai it was with a fantastic pass to send Charnley over through the right corner overlap. Although Josh missed the extras, the game was back in Wigan's control at 26-16.

Featherstone never gave up, you have to say that, but never looked like threatening us from then on. In fact, like I said, they hadn't built up any pressure all half. It was always looking like a Wigan score to wrap it up and it probably should have come sooner than it did. Gelling had a great chance to score in the left corner on 72 minutes but knocked on.

The match was eventually wrapped up by Hock with two minutes to go and it was a try that Sam Tomkins himself would have been proud of. 12 metres out and on the last, he put in a dab towards the in goal and won the race to touch it down. "Butcher" Hock gets accused of brain farts every game, butthat was clever stuff. I notice though he's getting a bit of a ribbing on twitter for the fact he kicked the ball. Karl Pryce said "butcher ladd!!! where did that kick come from!!!" and Stuart Fielden added "you know the rules . You get your p45 for kicking the ball butcher!" Anyway, Charnley converted to wrap up a 32-16 win.

Not sure how Sky's commentary team came up with Josh for man of the match. This was a game decided by hard work up the middle rather than out wide. Like I alluded to, it was McIlorum by a mile for me with Finch up their as well. Two classy performances that got us through to the Quarter Finals.

As for Featherstone's ground, it was a bit of a dog to be truthful. A walk up a muddy path to get to the turnstile was followed by a trip to a urinal which looked like it had been nailed together with any spare bits of wood they could find. Although I must admit it was amusing to see a Police Van get stuck in the mud behind our sticks and having to be towed out.

So simple put, job done! Now for the Quarter Final draw which takes place this Tuesday Morning at 8:20am during BBC Radio 5 Live's Breakfast Programme.

Reaction to the Action

Coach Shaun Wane: "I knew it was going to be tough. I'm just glad we're through to the next round. It was a real old-fashioned cup-tie I know what it's like coming here. That is what the Cup is all about and I hope that lives with Featherstone for many years to come. I thought they were outstanding. I was uncomfortable. I've watched quite a bit of Featherstone and I knew they could play. They did a great job on Sam. We need to work on ways to counteract that but we'll learn things and get better. I have to say I was disappointed with the pace of the game. It was allowed to be played at a Championship pace. It was painfully slow and that really disappoints me."

Featherstone Coach Daryl Powell: "I'm unbelievably proud. I thought the try at the end probably did us a disservice - 26-16 would have been a fairer reflection of the game. What an effort from minute one to minute 80 from every one of the players. We've got to get a lot of confidence from it. We looked at each other last night in the team meeting and we talked about what was possible. We didn't think we could win it but the next time we come up against one of the better teams we'll believe we can do it. It was a sensational effort. Defensively what we did was incredible. We made life really difficult for Wigan."

Team Sheets

- Featherstone Position Wigan 1
1 Ian Hardman Full Back Sam Tomkins 1
2 Gareth Raynor Winger Josh Charnley 2
3 Sam Smeaton Centre Darrell Goulding 3
4 Greg Worthington Centre Jack Hughes 26
5 Tommy Saxton Winger Anthony Gelling 24
6 Kyle Briggs Stand Off Brett Finch 6
7 Liam Finn Scrum Half Thomas Leuluai 7
8 Micky Haley Prop Paul Prescott 8
9 Ben Kaye Hooker Mike McIlorum 9
10 Stuart Dickens Prop Jeff Lima 14
11 James Lockwood 2nd Row Harrison Hansen 11
12 Tim Spears 2nd Row Gareth Hock 12
13 Jon Hepworth L.Forward Sean O'Loughlin 13
14 Andy Kain Substitute Lee Mossop 10
15 Dom Maloney Substitute Liam Farrell 16
16 Jon Grayshon Substitute Chris Tuson 17
17 Anthony England Substitute Epalahame Lauaki 21
- Daryl Powell Coach Shaun Wane -

Score Sheet

Featherstone Rovers 16 --- Wigan Warriors 32
Tries (3):
Tommy Saxton
Ian Hardman
Gareth Raynor
--- Tries (6):
Sean O'Loughlin
Darrell Goulding
Gareth Hock 2
Thomas Leuluai
Josh Charnley
Liam Finn 2/4
--- Goals:
Sam Tomkins 1/2
Josh Charnley 3/4

Scoring and Incident Pattern

03mins:19 Featherstone 00 Wigan 04 Try: Sean O'Loughlin
- Featherstone 00 Wigan 06 Conversion: Sam Tomkins (1/1)
18mins:49 Featherstone 04 Wigan 06 Try: Tommy Saxton
- Featherstone 04 Wigan 06 L.Finn Missed Conversion (0/1)
21mins:17 Featherstone 08 Wigan 06 Try: Ian Hardman
- Featherstone 10 Wigan 06 Conversion: Liam Finn (1/2)
23mins:43 Featherstone 10 Wigan 10 Try: Darrell Goulding
- Featherstone 10 Wigan 10 S.Tomkins Missed Conversion (1/2)
35mins:09 Featherstone 12 Wigan 10 Penalty Goal: Liam Finn (2/3)
39mins:12 Featherstone 12 Wigan 14 Try: Gareth Hock
- Featherstone 12 Wigan 16 Conversion: Josh Charnley (1/1)
Half Time Featherstone Rovers 12 Wigan Warriors 16
52mins:38 Featherstone 12 Wigan 20 Try: Thomas Leuluai
- Featherstone 12 Wigan 22 Conversion: Josh Charnley (2/2)
58mins:25 Featherstone 16 Wigan 22 Try: Gareth Raynor
- Featherstone 16 Wigan 22 L.Finn Missed Conversion (2/4)
64mins:46 Featherstone 16 Wigan 26 Try: Josh Charnley
- Featherstone 16 Wigan 26 J.Charnley Missed Conversion (2/3)
77mins:53 Featherstone 16 Wigan 30 Try: Gareth Hock (2)
- Featherstone 16 Wigan 32 Conversion: Josh Charnley (3/4)
Full Time Featherstone Rovers 16 Wigan Warriors 32

Video Highlights

Top 5 Wigan Players as voted on our Message Board

Man of the Match: Mike McIlorum
2nd: Gareth Hock 3rd: Josh Charnley 4th: Sean O'Loughlin 5th: Brett Finch


Richard Silverwood

Penalties Conceded

Featherstone 10 Wigan 7

Match Attendance

4,082 (Approx 1,013 Wigan Supporters)



Light drizzle at times but pretty dry really. Heavy pitch.

2012 Challenge Cup Round 5 Results

Fri 27 Apr Featherstone Rovers 16 Wigan Warriors 32 4,082
Fri 27 Apr Leigh 19 Halifax 18 (After Golden Point ET) 2,182
Fri 27 Apr Oldham 0 St Helens 76 (at St Helens) 5,746
Sat 28 Apr Warrington Wolves 32 Bradford Bulls 16 5,505
Sat 28 Apr Catalan Dragons 66 Sheffield Eagles 6 3,102
Sun 29 Apr Batley Bulldogs 16 London Broncos 22 1,025
Sun 29 Apr Huddersfield Giants 52 Swinton Lions 0 2,617
Sun 29 Apr Salford City Reds 10 Leeds Rhinos 16 4,500
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