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|Sunday 12th June 2011|
|Castleford Tigers 22 Wigan Warriors 22|
|The Jungle, Castleford|
|Engage Super League 16 - Round 17 of 27|
|Kick Off 3:30pm|
|19||Amos Roberts||1||Richard Mathers||T|
|25||Josh Charnley||T||2||Kirk Dixon||G|
|12||Joel Tomkins||T||22||Jordan Thompson|
|2||Darrell Goulding||4||Joe Arundel||T2|
|5||Pat Richards||G3||5||Richard Owen|
|17||Brett Finch||T||23||Ryan McGoldrick|
|6||Paul Deacon||7||Danny Orr|
|15||Jeff Lima||8||Paul Jackson|
|7||Thomas Leuluai||16||Adam Milner|
|21||Lee Mossop||11||Jake Emmitt|
|11||Harrison Hansen||13||Brett Ferres|
|16||Ryan Hoffman||20||Martin Aspinwall||T|
|23||Chris Tuson||9||Ryan Hudson|
|9||Michael McIlorum||6||Rangi Chase|
|13||Sean O'Loughlin||19||Nick Fozzard|
|14||Paul Prescott||T||21||Nathan Massey|
|22||Liam Farrell||25||Dean Widders||T|
Well coach Michael Maguire branded the second half display from Wigan today as simply "not acceptable" after his side failed to score a single second half point for the second match in a row.
It was a very disappointing last 20 minutes for sure but circumstances really did work against Wigan and into Castleford's favour. First, very early in the second half, Pat Richards intercepts on his own 20 and races away with Kirk Dixon struggling to keep up. It was for all the world a try but just short of the line, inexplicably with no one near him, Pat dropped the football. Moment later Sean O'Loughlin knocked on over the line as well and had either of those attempts been scored, the game would have been well and truly over.
So that was already keeping Castleford's hopes of a comeback alive but it really was a touch judge call around the hour mark that changed the match completely. Basically their is a rule where from a twenty metre restart you can actually kick for touch rather than tap the ball and where ever the ball goes out, you get the scrum. But the ball has to bounce in the field of play first and this attempt from Danny Orr wasn't just out on the full, it was well out on the full. It was bang in front of me and we could all see it it was out on the full but the touch judge said otherwise. Even Wish FM commentator Mark Wilson tweeted at me that "the flag man wants shooting. it was miles out" and he was sat on the other side of the field. I don't like to bag officials in my match reports but that decision was a total disgrace and he should be demoted for it. Granted their is no excuse for losing a 22-4 lead but that call almost cost us the game.
For all that, I think we have to be grateful for a point off the back of the International Origin match on Friday because it turned out that none of the top 4 backed up with a win today. Even though I think we should have had the game wrapped up by the 50th minute, overall we looked pretty tired and ragged from the off I felt. Castleford to me looked like they had an extra spring in their step but they kept letting Wigan off the hook first half with garbage ball retention. I think they also made an error by only having Rangi Chase on the bench. They were a far better outfit when he came on.
The origin tribulations of Friday meant that both Sam Tomkins and George Carmont sat out the action with Amos Roberts and Darrell Goulding replacing them. Coach Maguire also gave Chris Tuson his first start of the season at Loose Forward with Sean O'Loughlin playing off the subs bench.
Wigan made hay early doors by targeting our old friend Richard Mathers. A poor nothing kick was put in by Paul Deacon but Mathers flapped at the bouncing ball and it fell kindly for Brett Finch who was able to touch down close to the posts after just 8 minutes. Pat converted for 6-0.
It was hard work though on a soggy pitch but Wigan always looked the more likely to score. They probably should have found at least one try before they finally scored again on 26 minutes. Again it was a Mathers error that created the territory. Kick went to him and he knocked it on, much to the delight of the Wigan faithful. Soon after he was substituted for Rangi Chase, a move that further delighted the Wigan fans .
Off the back of that error, O'Loughlin was now into the action and he was running left with a total of 7 defenders hanging back from him before an overlap allowed Josh Charnley to crash in the right corner via a touch from Joel Tomkins. Josh ended a 5 match try drought having not scored since Crusaders (A) last month but Pat couldn't covert so the score was left at 10-0 after 26 minutes.
Soon after that came one of those rare cherished moments, a Paul Prescott try. O'Loughlin and Finch combined and it was a lovely shuffle pass from the latter than sent Precky barging in from a metre out. That was the third try of his Wigan career and his second this season, having scored at Leeds in April. Pat converted for 16-0 and with 5 to go to the break, your thinking let's just get to half time.
But although we didn't hold that lead to half time, we actually ended up in a better position because whilst Cas scored on 38 minutes, we still had time to respond before the break.
The Castleford try saw Dean Widders touch down a beautifully weighted kick from Danny Orr. It was an easy conversion but Kirk Dixon made a complete tit of himself by slipping over at the vital moment.
Then Wigan responded with a great try just 10 seconds before the hooter. Pat made the break from sixty out but didn't have the legs to go all the way. He found Joel Tomkins in support and it was great play from him because he was heading into touch but powered back inside to take Dixon over the line with him. Pat's conversion made it 22-4 at the break, great first half!
Like I said though, it all went against us second half. First Pat's unbelievable knock on then O'Loughlin failing to ground also when he looked a certain scorer. Their was also a big moment whilst the score was a 22-4 in which I think Wigan should have gone for two. They had been tapping penalties all afternoon, and I like that, but they had an opportunity to kick an easy two and I think they made a wrong call in not pushing their lead up to a four score lead. Easy to say that in hindsight but I did say it at the time. They should have been slowing the play down in those conditions.
Anyway, once Cas got a try back on 56 minutes they always believed they could come back. That try came from Joe Arundel in the right corner, Dixon missed the kick.
That made it 22-8 and for me it is exactly this kind of situation in which we need Paul Deacon and Brett Finch to take control and shut down the game. But again, didn't really happen. In fairness Finch seemed to be out on the wing with a knock. He certainly gave the touch judge what for at that error I mentioned earlier.
It was from that poor touch judge error that Martin Aspinwall scored to narrow the lead further. Great kick towards the posts by Chase and he won the race to touch it down. Easy kick here for 22-14.
Wigan were now looking dead on their feet and this was leading to errors that allowed Cas to come back further. Joe Arundel scored again on the right, taking advantage of poor defence from Darrell Goulding. Dixon's kick was wide but at 22-18 with 10 to go, you really fancied Cas.
One thing was for sure, we were never going to score again so it simply was a case of trying to hang on. We'd done well to get the clock down inside the final two minutes but Chris Tuson knocked on, on half way, to give the Tigers one last chance and they took it. That man Chase with the pass and who else but Mathers to claim the try. He was now playing out on the left wing and he made mugs of the Wigan fan's who had given him so much stick earlier. It was no doubt a sweet moment for him, but it turned into a damp squib I suppose when Dixon missed the kick to win the game, his fourth miss from five attempts.
In conclusion, a point dropped, no doubt about it, but looking at results elsewhere, its a actually a good point gained. We've won back our go top if we win our game in hand opportunity for now and that should continue to be the aim before that extra games happens next month. We've three tough fixtures to come before then though, starting with the small matter of St Helens on Friday. You'll might be pleased to know my Match Preview will be back this week for that one after an absence of three weeks!
Super League 16 - Round 17 Results
|Sat 11 June||Catalan Dragons 31 Crusaders 18||7,125|
|Sun 12 June||Hull FC 38 Harlequins 6||11,139|
|Sun 12 June||Warrington Wolves 16 Salford City Reds 18||10,339|
|Sun 12 June||Castleford Tigers 22 Wigan Warriors 22||7,263|
|Sun 12 June||Wakefield Wildcats 13 Huddersfield Giants 10||5,436|
|Sun 12 June||Bradford Bulls 14 St Helens 14||13,224|
|Sun 12 June||Leeds Rhinos 44 Hull Kingston Rovers 14||13,669|
Engage Super League 16 Table - After This Round
|9||Salford City Reds||17||7||0||10||374||510||-136||14|
|11||Hull Kingston Rovers||17||6||0||11||394||486||-92||12|
*Crusaders and Wakefield both deducted 4 points for entering administration.