A good game at Orrell on Saturday and Wigan
perhaps should have won but the extra experience from Warrington's
three over age players - Chris Riley, Mike Cooper and Lee Mitchell,
who all scored - just nudged them into victory.
A slow start cost Wigan dear in the end. We
knocked on our first set and Warrington punished with a close range
try from Mitchell, in the second minute, that was converted by
The sloppiness continued from Wigan and the
match was resembling the first team game on Friday. Wigan also
suffered a blow when prop Dom Crosby went off early with what
looked like a wrist injury. He looked a disconsolate figure on the
bench, like his afternoon was over, but although he would return
late in the game, he was much missed for the 50 or so minutes he
was off the field.
The visitors got a well deserved second try on
22 minutes when Ryan Shaw scored. O'Brien's conversion was wide but
it was a healthy 10-0 lead.
Warrington had been extremely enthusiastic in
defence but that began to wane as the half wore on. A mixture of
that and Wigan being much improved with ball in hand, allowed us to
get back into the contest. On 26 minutes, after forcing a drop out,
Joe Mellor scored from close range. Jack Murphy couldn't convert.
Five minutes later Mellor was in for his second
but this one was far harder work than his first. Warrington were on
the attack down their left and Mellor intercepted then raced a full
90 metres to score in the right corner. Murphy couldn't convert
again, which left the score 10-8 to Warrington and it remained that
way to half time.
Early second half and Wigan took the lead.
Lovely close range try from Sam Powell. He dropped the shoulder,
beat the defender and put it down near the posts. Murphy converted
this one to make it 14-10 to Wigan.
Warrington responded to level the scores on 50
minutes after Wigan had knocked on near their own line, then
conceded a penalty. Chris Riley claimed it in the left corner but
O'Brien's conversion hit the post.
Soon after Warrington scored again Ryan Shaw
claiming his second try off the back of a 40/20 kick. O'Brien
converted this time to give Warrington a 20-14 lead.
Despite being behind again, I felt Wigan were
beginning to get the ascendancy. A big moment in the game came on
58 minutes. Jack Murphy had broke away down the left and aiming for
the posts he had just one man to beat. That was Chris Riley who had
come across from the right wing to halt Murphy but took him out
with a high tackle. Now it wasn't a bad one but the penalty
conceded helped the whole Warrington defence get back onside. Now
to me that really should be a yellow card for a professional foul.
I think that turned the game. A try there and I
think we'd have gone on to win. But the match just went beyond
Wigan with injury playing it's part. An accidental clash of heads
between Wigan second rower's Danny Bridge and Matt Crow forced them
both off the field at a crucial time. Straight after that
Warrington claimed what proved to be the match winning try on 66
minutes with Mike Cooper scoring from close range. O'Brien's
conversion made it 26-14.
It was at this point that Crosby returned to the
field and he showed why he was missed. I think both Bridge and Crow
did come back on as well, certainly one of them did, but the damage
had already been done with Cooper's try. Wigan never gave up and
rallied to make the game tight right to the end.
Sam Powell claimed his second with another close
range effort but crucially the conversion from Murphy was wide. We
needed to convert because 26-18 was still a two score lead with 9
minutes to go.
Then on 76 minutes, Dom Crosby was showed his
worth with a try from close range that set up a grandstand finish.
Murphy converted to make it 24-26 and although about three minutes
remained, the injury delay for the Bridge/Crow head clash ensured a
hefty amount of injury time.
Four minutes added on in fact and when Crosby
was sent breaking away and charging at the line it looked like
Wigan would rob the points, just like Warrington did in the
corresponding game at Orrell last season, but he was rightly in my
view pulled back for a forward pass.
That was the last chance of the game and a
Warrington penalty goal from O'Brien, awarded after an accidental
trip from Logan Tomkins, made the final score 28-24 to them.