This was a big game at the top of the Academy table. A
Wigan win would mean they'd go four points clear of Saints
at the top and seal a first place finish ahead of the play
offs. Lose and the sides would be level on points again,
like they have been for most of the season separated by
points difference only.
Particularly given the importance
of the game, Wigan did not play well for the first fifty
minutes at least and were perhaps fortunate to still, at
that point, being in contention to win the match.
The loss of starting prop Jack Wells to concussion after
just one minute didn't help the cause but Saints scored
twice on 10 and 14 minutes to go 12-0 up and they were
pretty much carbon copy tries. Errors by Wigan twenty
metres from their own line ended up being punished with two
right wing tries for Dave Eccleston. Danny Richardson then
kicked two excellent touchline conversions for 12-0.
Wigan had two or three attempts at the Saints line but
it was all a bit flat and when Saints scored a third try on
the half hour, Rogan Grace for 16-0, it looked ominous for
a repeat of Saints 44-24 victory at Langtree Park earlier
in the season.
Matty Peet's side though got hope four minutes before
half time when Jake Shorrocks scored a close range effort
near the posts. He converted for 16-6 and that was a bonus
for me, against the tide of the game and the reality of the
At the start of the second half, Saints looked more
likely to press for another try but it never came and that
would prove costly. I firmly believe had they gone 22-6 up
this game was done but their failure gave hope to Wigan and
they produced some great grit to fight back.
In fact Wigan controlled the last half hour. It wasn't a
night of masses of positives but that was really pleasing.
Liam Marshall's 55th Minute try in the left corner set the
comeback rolling and he repeated that on 67th Minute to tie
the scores at 16-16. Shorrocks nailed a big conversion for
that second try which put Wigan ahead for the first time at
Twelve minutes, plus stoppage time, still remained but
it always felt like Wigan were controlling this one. Saints
had a couple of big chances but panicked or forced the
issue when patience was required.
In the end it was only in stoppage time that Wigan got
over the line with first Jake Shorrocks adding a drop goal
for 19-16 before Liam Forsyth scored the match winner in
the fourth added minute.