The wild winds of Yorkshire and the gentle sway of the
falling down stand are what greeted Wigan fans who ventured over the
Dewsbury to watch the warriors demolish the Rams of the field. As a contest
it was never expected to be close, but Dewsbury did come out fighting, quite
literally. In two cup games against Yorkshire opponents Wigan have notched
up 132 points without letting so much as a drop goal spoil the zero
retaliation figure. Many think that Wigan may even go through to Wembley
without conceding a single point, but that would be something too remarkable
even for this team of stars. I'm sure many better teams will still become
victims of the Farrell, Robinson and Connolly Wigan triangle. Couple that
with a strong quick back row, powerful forwards and quick half back play and
you will see why no-one wants to draw Wigan in the cup. It is obvious to see
the Cup favorites and former eight time's holders are more than hungry to
get to Wembley and win. This narrow Dewsbury pitch was in good condition,
despite the snow and rain of the past week. The local crowd was welcoming
and seemed ready to accept the inevitable in this round five match.
Wigan's Rob McCormack picked up the first kick off and he was duly met with
a very fierce and dangerous horizontal tackle from Dewsbury's Shayne
Williams. McCormack was led off the field full of blood and replaced by
Daryl Cardiss. And this seemed to set the scene for Dewsbury's tactics for
the afternoon. Further niggles and infringements from Williamson meant that
Farrell could open the points avalanche for Wigan by landing two penalties.
Williams persisted to push his luck with the ref for a full 30 minutes with
late flops and loose arms, and he was then duly dispatched to the sin bin
for a good 10 minutes rest. The Rams defense was proving tough to break
through and then after 20 minutes Steve Holgate broke through the line and
offloaded to the supporting Craig Murdock who crossed the line for the first
Wigan try. Danny Moore was the next one to score, finishing off a Smith and
Farrell combination. Then Dewsbury made the most of a rare Lee Gilmour
mistake and put pressure on the Wigan line.
It was not long before Gilmour made amends for this by Breaking from his own
20 metre line, offloading to Smith who then timed his pass to Robinson to
score his first try of the game. Robinson, not content with that saw his
opportunity to pounce again as he stormed through the now tiring Rams back
line to score his second try just minutes later. After half time it was
business as usual as Robinson scampered over from long distance to complete
his hat trick.
By now Wigan had taken full control of this game. After a half time ear
bashing from coach John Monie who thought that the pack was winning the
battle in the centre of the park, but Wigan were for to keen to get the ball
out wide, and were not proving as effective as a result. This advice did not
go unheeded as Wigan started scoring more tries. Dewsbury's tactics of play
altered little after their half time talk. They continued to niggle the
Wigan players, Adrian Flynn being the person who preferred to have a go
instead of covering the gap left for Robinson to scamper through and setup
tries for Farrell and a second for Murdock.
The Farrell try was well worked indeed, the ball passing through the five
pairs of Wigan hands finishing off with Smith and Robinson, who selflessly
offloaded to Farrell. Robinson's fine balance and turns were a real crowd
pleaser, unless you were from Dewsbury. And he proved to be a menace to the
defense all afternoon.
Wigan Substitute Paul Johnson came on the field and with his first touch of
the ball he raced over for a try. Cardiss rounded of the afternoon with a
well deserved try and Farrell obliged by converting the goals to take his
afternoons total to 24. The ill-disciplined and strong display by Dewsbury
was summed up in prop Gary Rose, as he clattered Tony Mestrov and then
mouthed off the ref after he blew the whistle. He was duly dispatched to the
sin bin and was very lucky not to see a red card for his behavior.
Wigan notched up a fine victory again despite never really getting into top
gear. This could work both ways for Wigan. On the one hand they have kept
two clean sheets, practiced game plays and set pieces without getting
injured. On the other hand they have not really been pushed to their limits
in terms of pressure and match fitness and so meeting Superleague opposition
will be a tough test in the next round Against Dewsbury they did not perform
as well as they did against Dewsbury two weeks before. The Rams were really
their own worth enemy as they were undisciplined all afternoon and failed to
finish off some moves which may have seen a try or two.
Wigan's defense of the other hand was tireless and well organised all
afternoon. In fact the whole team from one through to 17 worked well for
each other, with no one player thinking he was greater than the whole. The
Wigan faithful must now be hoping for a plum tie to a big team at Central
Park to test their skills and give them a worthy pay day, after these two
small team games. We will just have to wait and see what the good fairies at
Red Hall come up with.