15th February 1998: Keighley 0 Wigan 76
Posted by Bilko on December 29 2015 - 23:10
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Keighley Cougars 0 Wigan Warriors 76 - Sunday 15th February 1998
Venue: Cougar Park, Keighley
Competition: Silk Cut Challenge Cup Fourth Round
Kick Off: 3:00pm


1. Kris Radlinski, 2. Jason Robinson, 4. Gary Connolly, 3. Danny Moore, 5. Mark Bell, 6. Henry Paul, 19. Craig Murdock

WiganlForwards:l 8. Neil Cowie, 9. Robbie McCormack, 17. Stephen Holgate, 14. Mick Cassidy, 12. Simon Haughton, 13. Andy Farrell

15. Jon Clarke, 18. Lee Hansen, 20. Lee Gilmour, 22. Rob Smyth


Mark Bell, Jon Clarke, Gary Connolly, Lee Gilmour, Simon Haughton, Stephen Holgate, Robbie McCormack, Craig Murdock 2, Henry Paul 2, Jason Robinson 3

WiganlGoals:l Andy Farrell 10

KeighleylBacks:l Foster, Wray, McDonald, Irving, Billy, Owen, Robinson
KeighleylForwards:l Julien, Ramshaw, Senior, Stephenson, Larder, Summergill
KeighleylInterchange:l Edwards, Smith, Shackleton, Cain


KeighleylGoals:l (None)

In previous encounters on the hills of Yorkshire reports may have included the phrases, freezing, soggy, windy, boring and un-welcoming. Not so on Sunday in this 4th round challenge cup game between Keighley and Wigan. Cougar Park was sunny and the supporters pleasant. They had the sense of humour that went with the expectations of a big loss against a very strong Wigan side. Wigan were keen to kick start their season with a good win and Keighley were unfortunate opponents.

Right from the off Wigan went at the Cougars defence and ripped a hole in it to give Jason Robinson the space to dart over for the first of his three tries in just 109 seconds, the fastest try of the day in the 4th round games. John Monies cup winning influence could be seen again in the team. The defensive line was strong for the full 80 minutes, and the finishing clinical. Further tries from Australian newcomers McCormack and Bell added to the misery for Keighley. Farrell converted the tries and took Wigan into a commanding lead.

Henry Paul was next to strike scything through the defence to score two tries in just seven minutes. It was good to see Henry back at his best at stand-off after the injury lay-off's he's endured recently. Robinson was the next to cross the now faded whitewash for his second try to put the outclassed Cougars 34 - 0 down after just 30 minutes. Wigan Substitute Lee Gilmour soared over for a try when he entered the fray, and Scrum-half Craig Murdock made a determined run to score the try which took Wigan 46 -0 up going into the half time break. Farrell had converted seven of the eight tries taking him ever closer to his 1000th career point.

Before the second half started Wigan came out early to warm up. And as the game started Jason Robinson sailed over to complete his hat-trick of tries for the afternoon, after Keighleys centre Simon Irving was sin-binned for holding back Craig Murdock when he backed up Kris Radlinski's solo break down the centre of the field. The resulting penalty gave Wigan the chance to attack from deep in the Cougars lair and Murdock took the opportunity to scamper over for his second try.

All of this action did not deter Keighley. They played with plenty of determination and pride, but they lacked pace and were quickly tiring in this fast and open game. Prop forward Stephen Holgate ran onto a great pass from Farrell to charge over for a try next and the score was looking impressive at 66 - 0. Not to be outdone centre Gary Connolly thought it was time his name appeared on the score sheet after his brilliant efforts in defence and support play. He went over in the far corner for a well worked try that saw the ball pass through the hands of half the Wigan team. The last try belonged to Substitute Hooker John Clarke, who scored the last Wigan try one minute from the end. Farrell's kicking during this game gave him the 1000th point he needed and he took away a personal tally of ten kicks, a successful captain's roll and the man of the match award

McCormack, Bell and Moore were in fine form and paved the way for many Wigan breaks during the game. Neil Cowie was in his usual aggressive and determined mood as he powered through tackles. Lee Hansen equally was up to the task as he came in the place of Cowie. John Clarke was substituted for McCormack at hooker and was out to prove he was worthy of a regular first team place this season. His support play and defence were spot on during the second half. Farrell led from the front and backup from Connolly and Robinson was just awesome at times. Kris Radlinski must surly have claimed the full back spot with a solid performance. The whole Wigan team looked alive and fresh. The supporters will certainly be pleased if this sort of game is the norm this season.

Coach John Monie was full of praise for his side. He said, "We came here to take no prisoners and play tough defence but the attack looked pretty good to me sitting in the stand. The most pleasing thing for me was they played the way they've trained. It was a very good performance and I'm very happy with that. I was pleased with Robbie McCormack again. That's the first time Danny Moore has gone around with us for a full game and he and Gary Connolly combined well. Henry Paul looked very good with the ball in his hands"

Keighley coach John Kain praised his side but admitted, "We knew we had to try to control the speed of the game and make good use of what possession we might get," he said. "In the first half we did a little bit of that but I think we can take a lot of credit for our performance in the second half. We completed all but one of our possession periods sufficiently but we were playing against what I think is the best team in Super League and some of the best players in the world. If anybody came into this game and thought Keighley Cougars were going to beat Wigan, or even come close, they were in a dream. Everyone's entitled to their dreams but we were operating off reality. It's certainly an experience and we'll definitely learn from it."

It certainly was Wigan's day and even though the game was never in doubt even before the kick-off, Keighley will be happy with the way they played and they'll learn a lot of what's required from them to be a top team in Superleague. Wigan never let up for the full eighty minutes and looked so strong in defence that any Superleague team would have had difficulty in penetrating it. Wigan know they'll have to face much better and stronger opposition before they can order the Wembley suits, but few teams will wish to draw them in tomorrow nights 5th round cup draw, especially when they're in this mood.



Half Time:l

Keighley 0 Wigan 46




Steve Presley (Castleford)

1998 Challenge Cup Round 4 Results

Friday 13th February 1998
Egremont 0 Workington Town 18 (switched to Recreation Ground, Whitehaven)
Featherstone Lions 20 Hull Kingston Rovers 56 (at Post Office Road, Featherstone)

Saturday 14th February 1998
Leeds Rhinos 12 Castleford Tigers 15
Ovenden 0 Salford Reds 74 (at Thrum Hall, Halifax)

Sunday 15th February 1998
Barrow Border Raiders 22 Widnes Vikings 56
Batley Bulldogs 20 London Broncos 44
Ellenborough 14 Hunslet Hawks 12 (at Derwent Park, Workington)
Featherstone Rovers 24 St Helens 56
Halifax Blue Sox 28 Huddersfield Giants 8
Keighley Cougars 0 Wigan Warriors 56
Lancashire Lynx 28 Dewsbury Rams 28
Leigh Centurions 11 Sheffield Eagles 66
Rochdale Hornets 10 Bradford Bulls 48
Swinton Lions 39 York Wasps 21
Wakefield Trinity 6 Warrington Wolves 42
Whitehaven Warriors 12 Hull Sharks 26

Wednesday 18th February 1998
Replay: Dewsbury Rams 31 Lancashire Lynx 14