First try went to the visitors though on the quarter
hour. Former Warrior Henry Paul, delayed his
pass beautifully and prop Daniel Heckenberg walked through some
non-existent defence to cross under the posts. At the time it
looked like the same old poor Wigan defence but in hindsight it
was a rare lapse. Paul Sykes adding the easy conversion to give
Quins a 6-2 lead.
Coach Noble had brought Feka off after just 13 minutes which
led to screams that this was "not good enough". But he used a
different tactic. Rather than giving him 20 minutes and leaving
him off until around the 50 minute mark, he brought him off
earlier and then put him back on for Stu Fielden in the 24th
minute. Clearly this tactic worked as Feka did 47 minutes. A big
increase on his 32 minute average so far this year. Gareth Hock coming off injured
on 19 minutes didn't help but he would return during the second
Anyway Wigan hit back with a try which was our first try in a
opening half at the JJB this year. A kick was fielded brilliant by
Mark McLinden a metre from his own line but I think Michael
Withers stole it one on one and crossed over for the simplest of
tries. Now he may of knocked on McLinden, I'm not sure, but it was
a priceless gift which gave Withers his first Warriors four
pointer. Richards converted to make it 8-6 to Wigan. A second
penalty goal, this time for not standing square, increased the
lead to 10-6 on the half hour.
Wigan were beginning to turn the screw with half time
approaching as they forced a repeat set when McLinden was tackled
into touch by Mark Calderwood after a nice kick from Sean
O'Loughlin. This was my queue for the half time pint and the clock
read 35:30. 4 minutes with a drop out, I was confident we'd get
into half time with either a four point lead or more. But no, no
sooner had I reached the bar, Quins went on to score what I
believe was a soft try when Scott Hill crossed over. Henry Paul
goaled to send Quins into half time with a 12-10 lead.
Just on the subject of the bar. The pump I was queuing
for ran out of beer at HALF TIME. The time of the game when most
people want a beer! "Anyone want just bitter" the bar girl
shouted. No one wanted just bitter because we had enough
bitterness watching the match last week. Anyway please get the
beer flowing in preparation for the break! Also, whilst on a rant
here, those TV screens in the East Stand. Complete waste of time!
They looked like they've been focused by a blind man!
Anyway into the Second Half and for me a big key to us
winning was that Harlequins seemed to try and hang on to a 2 point
lead for 40 minutes! Tactically the visitors kicked well and kept
us at arms length but we were always going to get one chance to
score, evenly playing badly.
Wigan were boosted shortly after the restart when Hock
reappeared for Hansen, and showed they meant business when
McLinden lost possession after a big hit from Bryan Fletcher.
But, despite a weaving run from Leuluai that saw him
evade several would-be tacklers, neither side looked overly likely
to provide a moment of magic as the game entered the final
Trent Barrett nearly provided that touch of class after
61 minutes, as he raced through the cover defence, almost going
over in the corner. But Chris Melling, another former Wigan man,
got him in touch a metre short.
Melling was the hero there but he soon became a zero.
He fumbled a high bomb in front of his own posts which gave Wigan
the field position to pounce. On the third tackle, Leuluai sent
Vaealiki over in the corner and due praise to him for narrowing
the angle a good 10 metres inside which meant Richards could
easily convert and make it 16-12.
Wigan were holding on comfortably until the clock went
off the JJB scoreboard. The removable of the clock meant full time
was near and I made it 4 and a half minutes that got added on.
During this time Harlequins were battering our line and looked
certain to nick the win but Wigan's defense held solid. They
eventually got the ball back and hung on for the hard fought win.