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|Wednesday 6th July 2011|
|Wigan Warriors 26 Castleford Tigers 16|
|DW Stadium, Wigan|
Engage Super League 16 - Round 3 of 27
(Previously Postponed on Sunday 27th February 2011)
Kick Off 8:00pm
|1||Sam Tomkins||23||Ryan McGoldrick|
|25||Josh Charnley||T2||28||Greg Eden|
|12||Joel Tomkins||4||Joe Arundel||G2|
|4||George Carmont||T||13||Brett Ferres|
|2||Darrell Goulding||5||Richard Owen||T|
|17||Brett Finch||25||Dean Widders|
|6||Paul Deacon||G3||6||Rangi Chase|
|15||Jeff Lima||19||Nick Fozzard|
|7||Thomas Leuluai||16||Adam Milner|
|21||Lee Mossop||11||Jacob Emmitt|
|11||Harrison Hansen||14||Stuart Jones||T|
|22||Liam Farrell||T||24||Oliver Holmes|
|13||Sean O'Loughlin||12||Steve Snitch|
|9||Michael McIlorum||21||Nathan Massey|
|16||Ryan Hoffman||T||26||John Davies||T|
|23||Chris Tuson||27||Daryl Clark|
|34||Gareth Hock||29||Rob Parker|
Well we perhaps got away with an obstruction call, and the fact Phil Bentham deemed Chris Tuson had denied Brett Ferres a try, but sometimes you just need to dig deep to gain the two points and Wigan did that yet again.
I mentioned only the other day on the message board how we dug deep to nick a late win against Hull at home, a late point at Leeds away, at late win at home to Saints, won at Huddersfield with massive injuries, more injuries tonight, got the win - these are qualities of a champion side for me - luck or no luck.
Of course Castleford had injuries themselves, and do not have the squad depth we have, but their is a massive difference I think between going away and playing with no expectancy on your backs than playing at home against a supposed poorer side when your expected to get not just a win, but a big win. Look at our trip to Huddersfield for another example of that! All the expectancy that night was on the Giants, but we turned them over - at least Cas didn't turn us over!
At the end of the day, we played in heavy rain without three would be regular props (Stuart Fielden, Andy Coley and Paul Prescott), in what was very much forwards weather, plus we also lost our top try scorer and goal kicker Pat Richards to a failed late fitness test. Meanwhile, George Carmont spent a good chunk of the field off injured first half, which meant Ryan Hoffman converted to centre for a while, and Gareth Hock played about 5 minutes in total after suffering a groin injury. So ok, it wasn't pretty, perhaps lucky, but under the circumstances I'll take that win!
I mean under Brian Noble do you think we'd have got anywhere close to building up the 26-16 lead we did? No chance, we'd have lost miserably as highlighted when Cas won here 28-22 in 2009. Compare the two and they were similar games but these days we are a bit more patient and clinical in attack and that does us well. Just need to learn not to drop our own ball. Sometimes you just have to be happy with, and grateful for, a miserable win!
Onto the match itself and Wigan got off to a great start. On our first possession of the game we forced a drop out, from which a kick to the right corner from Paul Deacon was well collected and touched down by Josh Charnley. Deacon himself, on goal kicking duty in Pat Richards' absence, added the extra's off the touchline to make it 6-0.
Castleford were soon forced into an early change when 72 year old Nick Fozzard came off clutching his ankle (I thought he returned later but might have imagined that?). He was replaced by Rob Parker who was on debut for the Tigers having recently signing on loan from Salford. I think he did well in his spell. He gave them a bit of go forward that helped momentum towards their first try I thought.
That first Cas try came after a penalty helped them up the field in the 11th minute, from which Ryan McGoldrick's pass sent ex Warrior Stuart Jones over the line. Jones did well to realise that the wet weather would see him slide over despite the attention of three Wigan defenders. Cas, like Wigan, also had their regular goal kicker (Kirk Dixon) absent as well so 19 year old Joe Arundel had the honours but his first attempt missed.
Cas then took the lead in the 18th minute, punishing a poor last tackle kick from Sam Tomkins and another conceded penalty. This time a good pass from Dean Widders saw Richard Owen squeeze in the right corner. Arundel then hit a touchline conversion to make it 10-6 to the Tigers.
Wigan were struggling at this point. When we did get into attacking positions during the first half the patience was lacking. Normally I like to say we are a side that can score from anywhere on the park but in this weather, we also needed help to score tries. A penalty came on 27 minutes, followed by another one soon after for accidental offside, and we clinically punished. Great long pass from Deacon to Joel Tomkins saw the latter send Charnley in the right corner for his second. Deacon couldn't convert this time though, so the score was level at 10-10.
In the final ten minutes of the half it was Castleford's John Davies at the heart on the action. First on 33 minutes, he was penalised for a high tackle on Josh Charnley. I had Wish FM's commentary in my ear at the game and I know both commentator Mark Wilson and summariser Andy Gregory were screaming "elbow" and "red card" but looking back on replay I think it looked worse on the big screen than it was. Swinging arm yes but not a red card for me. I'd say reckless rather than malicious! Had to laugh at Ganson shouting for "John Davies" to come forward not having a clue the bloke was already stood next to him though, haha!
Anyway this player Davies went on to score for Cas three minutes later. Harsh to criticise this try. Good kick from Chase and Sam did well to slide and collect but just couldn't avoid being smashed in the face by an opponents legs. The impact dislodged the ball and Davies pounced for the try. Arundel converted and that made it 16-10 to Cas at half time.
Much disappointment around the DW at the break. Plenty of forlorn faces, including my own. I tweeted that Maguire should give them a bollocking but I was always confident of victory. We just needed ball retention and patience and for a good ten minute spell in the second half we found just that, and it won us the game!
Cas had punished a poor last tackle option of ours earlier, this time it was our turn to get them back. Rangi Chase was guilty of being trapped on the last tackle and from that Wigan found the half break down the right from Sam, boosted forward by his offload to Charnley. Looking like he was tackled, he kept the ball alive back to Sam who went left. He aimed towards the posts but Steve Snitch conceded a penalty for tackling him round the neck
From that tap penalty, Mossop made the initial drive, quick play the ball, and Deacon sent Ginger Farrell through the gap for the score. We've seen that try before haven't we? Exact carbon copy of the Good Friday last minute match winner, with about 99% less emotion for us supporters. Big score though with Deacon's conversion levelling the game at 16-16.
Wigan now had Cas on the rack and they re-claimed the lead on 54 minutes with George Carmont (back on the field after missing a chunk of the first half) scoring his 12th try of the season. Excellent pass from Joel Tomkins to send him in. Not sure he knew much about it mind. Replay's did show an obstruction but you could argue Stuart Jones actually stepped to tackle the dummy runner? Would he have impacted on the end result anyway? I wouldn't have argued had it gone against us but I make the same old point - if your not going to allow those kind of plays, just ban dummy running!!! The would be obstructing Wigan player was just simply making a dummy run for me. Anyway, Deacon was unlucky with his conversion hitting the post and bouncing out rather than in, but Wigan now had a 20-16 lead.
Crucially in the end, Wigan added to that last try pretty quickly to build a much needed two score lead. Penalty helped us up the field and Brett Finch showed his delight in nailing a perfect pass to send Ryan Hoffman over the line from 15 out. Deacon converted this time to make it 26-16.
23 minutes now remained and had we completed the next set at the restart, I think we would have killed a dejected Castleford in the final quarter of the contest. But Ginger Farrell lost the ball under the impact of a tackle from Jake Emmitt and this set in motion a very nervy and tense end to the game. It was a great hit from Emmitt that lifted all his team mates.
Wigan survived that set but no sooner had they got the ball back, they knocked on again with Joel Tomkins fumbling the ball pretty much on our own try line. This time Cas did get over with Brett Ferres seemingly touching the ball down but Ganson handed it on to video ref Phil Bentham. Now basically their was no evidence to suggest he grounded the ball but I wouldn't have argued had "Benefit of the Doubt - TRY" had flashed up on the big screen. I think you have to give benefit if their is no clear evidence either way, which I don't think their was on that one. However Bentham decided that Tuson's legs, or more like his bollocks from what I could see, had held the ball up enough to deny the try.
Huge let off that. It ensured that for all Castleford's continued efforts in the final quarter, that two point lead was always looking like it would be enough. I did text "Gladys", who was sat with "Doris" and others over in the west stand, after the Hoffman try to say that we can now "breathe easy" but they were still flapping away in a shower of pessimism. Other's were flapping on twitter as well but you all need to have faith in Michael Maguire! I was always confident we'd see it out.............honestly! :D
Seriously, the sweat was still on though in the final 20 minutes but despite plenty of good territory for both sides, no further scores came. Closest was Thomas Leuluai to killing the game on 69 minutes but he knocked on trying to ground a difficult ball!
So a win is a win, top of the table we go on merit and let's just get this backed up on Saturday at Quins. Of course I would love a massive win in London but after tonight, I'll just take any win. Let's get out of this three game week with six points, don't really care how. Then we can move an eye at least towards rebuilding high standards against Wakefield and taking that forward to when they really will be required for that Warrington cup tie! We can't perform against them like we've done in the past games!
Finally I have to praise Lee Mossop yet again. He's deservedly joint top of our site player of the season race and I think in this game he proved why. In the second half when we needed a forward to lift, I thought he was the man that gave it to us. His work ethic is superb.
Engage Super League 16 Table - After This Match
|9||Salford City Reds||20||9||0||11||430||561||-131||18|
|10||Hull Kingston Rovers||20||8||0||12||514||546||-32||16|
*Crusaders and Wakefield both deducted 4 points for entering administration.