With players like Iain Thornley, Josh Veivers, Stuart Howarth and
Jonny Molloy all moving on in the off season, and both Stefan Marsh
and Josh Charnley being on stand by for the first team, it was a
pretty new and young Under 20s side that turned of for their first
game of the season. Add to that the likes of Liam Farrell and Chris
Tuson being more involved in the first team these days then it's
pretty much a new era at this level, a level which we've been
champions for the last three years in a row.
Often in the academy grades you see players play well and then
emerge as leaders as they get older, because with the natural
turnover for players they progress into seniority. So it'll be
interested to see who does that. It's a pretty young half back
combo. Sam Powell is still only 18, whilst Stand Off Chris Taylor
is even younger at 17. He was playing in our Under 16s side last
year but after just 5 Under 18s games at the back end of last
season he has progressed forward very quickly.
Logan Tomkins is now in the senior player mould as well but I
felt we were far quicker from dummy half when Liam Carberry came on
around the 50th minute mark. Logan did return but playing as a half
back (I think) and I think he played better in that position,
marking his performance with a try.
For third year in a row Wigan were beginning their
campaign a week later than their opponents, after our opener
against Bradford was postponed. Castleford beat Huddersfield 62-8
last week but didn't really show signs of that kind of form.
Sometimes at this level the standard is so poor that
Wigan beat teams with simple quicker thinking, quicker pace,
ripping teams apart from deep. This contest wasn't like that
though. We had to work hard in the forwards for the win.
It was a slow first half but Wigan managed to claim
two tries, through Ben Davies and Ryan King, before Castleford
responded with a try from Ben Blackmore, which left the half time
score 12-6 to Wigan.
Like I said Liam Carberry came on early in the second
half and I think we upped the tempo at this point. Perhaps shown by
two tries in quick succession, on 51 and 54 minutes, from first
Jack Murphy then Sam Powell.
Greg Eden got another try back for Cas but as I said
Logan Tomkins came back on playing in the halves and scored an
excellent try from his own little dink kick towards the posts.
The final try was scored by Jamie Acton, a player
Wigan signed from Hemel Stags in London after a successful trial
during the pre season. He chimed at the line down the right wing
and had to much power to be stopped.
Cas got a late consolation try from Joe Pickets three
minutes from time but Wigan were comfortable 34-16 winners overall.