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|Saturday 9th July 2011|
|Harlequins 6 Wigan Warriors 38|
|Twickenham Stoop, Twickenham, London|
|Engage Super League 16 - Round 21 of 27|
|Kick Off 3:00pm|
|1||Sam Tomkins||1||Luke Dorn|
|25||Josh Charnley||23||Mark Calderwood|
|12||Joel Tomkins||3||Tony Clubb|
|24||Stefan Marsh||T||2||Jamie O'Callaghan|
|5||Pat Richards||T||G5||31||Karl Pryce||T|
|17||Brett Finch||T||24||Dan Sarginson|
|7||Thomas Leuluai||6||Luke Gale||G|
|21||Lee Mossop||17||Danny Ward|
|9||Michael McIlorum||9||Andy Ellis|
|10||Andy Coley||8||Karl Temata|
|11||Harrison Hansen||T||13||Rob Purdham|
|16||Ryan Hoffman||T||33||Lee Mitchell|
|23||Chris Tuson||12||Chris Bailey|
|6||Paul Deacon||T2||10||Oliver Wilkes|
|15||Jeff Lima||16||Mike Burnett|
|22||Liam Farrell||18||Dave Williams|
|34||Gareth Hock||21||Olsi Krasniqi|
Well Michael Maguire says Wigan made "a bit of meal" of the first half of the game but that is a bit of an understatement. Maybe they had a bit of a hangover, playing so soon after the extra midweek game, but in the first half I was wondering if I'd been boozing on Nytol rather than beer - proper send yourself to sleep rugby!
The only entertainment on the pitch was coming from referee Roberts Hicks who, during the first half, disallowed three tries produced by a spirited Harlequins side. One such effort looked a full on plonk down with full control, it was right in front of me, that but yet the decision given twenty metre tap?
Then another potential try decision saw Hicks ignore the advice of not only the in goal judge, who had his nose right under the potential score, but also the touch judge on that side of the field! Instead he took the word of touch judge Barry Chuckle who was running the line furthest away from the action. So three officials nearest the action can't make a decision, but the one furthest away did! - Madness!
In the match, Wigan made a very slow start and I think this was down to the decision to drop Paul Deacon to the bench. I'm finding it really hard in my head to recall many breathtaking moments that he has created with ball in hand during his Wigan career, but it doesn't half get highlighted in his absence what a shrew kicking game he produces. Our performance was really flat till he came on because it lacked his direction.
It took 17 long, boring minutes before the first try game. A small section of supporters were so bored they were aiming abuse my way with chants like "Bilko is a Wanker" (and other rude ditties which we'll gloss over on here), but whilst they offended me, they very much amused the old ladies that took pity on me and let me sit with them at the game! ;-)
Anyway, that try came from Pat Richards with another of his trademark specials. Thomas Leuluai put the bomb up and Pat leaped like a gazelle to collect and touch it down. He then converted for a 6-0 lead.
Two minutes later that lead was increased to 10-0. First proper clean break of the match came from Sam Tomkins. He made a good arching run, which got him on the breakaway down the left wing before passing back on the inside to send the supporting Ryan Hoffman over for the third consecutive match. Pat's conversion went wide.
After that Quins seemed to have a long spell of pressure on our line which saw them claim what turned out to be their only try of the contest. Karl Pryce, on loan at Quins from Wigan, got it with a simple walk in on the left wing. Luke Gale nailed a good touchline conversion to make it 10-6 after 26 minutes.
On the half hour, Paul Deacon enters the field in place of Mike McIlorum (with Tommy switching to Hooker) and I think we bumped up the pace at this point. This helped Wigan towards their third try, which timed nicely just three minutes before the break. Leuluai sent Sam Tomkins on another break away and this time it was Harrison Hansen in support. H, barrelled a defender out the way before touching down but Pat failed to convert again. That left the half time score at a disappointing 14-6.
I say disappointing but in fairness it flattered us with Quins, as I eluded to earlier, having had three tries disallowed during the first half. But after the break we snuffed them out completely. Our defence was strong whilst we also stopped making our own mistakes and became more patient in attack against a Harlequins defence that certainly wasn't rolling over and dying.
Soon after the restart the contest was ended pretty quickly with Deacon claiming not one, but unbelievably two tries! He had only scored two tries in his whole Wigan career before this game so he must have been delighted.
His first try saw Finch put the bomb up which Joel Tomkins palmed back into the grateful arms of Deacon, who just had to flop over. The second effort saw Hansen and Ginger Farrell combine to send in over in a similar position to his first effort. Both were close to the posts, so two simple conversions for Pat now made it 26-6 with 28 minutes to go.
The result was never in doubt and to be fair Harlequins could have collapsed at this point but, to their credit I think, they didn't. They made Wigan work hard for two more scores late in the game.
Those scores came on 68 and 78 minutes. First Stefan Marsh did well to touch down despite the attention of three defenders, then Brett Finch took advantage of tired defenders to walk under the sticks in the dying moments. Pat converted both to make it 38-6 at full time
So job done again with the win taking us back top of the table. Wakefield to play next then we can have our eye fully on that Warrington cup tie. Wigan had both George Carmont and Sean O'Loughlin absent for this game so I think we should be resting up some players against Wakefield next week. I know top spot is important but it is no real advantage on finishing second (unless you really want club call? - Is the tin pot really that important?) and with a five point cushion over third I think we have enough room for manoeuvre to rest players. Something tells me Michael Maguire won't take that option though!
Super League 16 - Round 21 Results
|Fri 8 July||Hull FC 52 Salford City Reds 16||11,699|
|Fri 8 July||Warrington Wolves 28 Huddersfield Giants 16||10,283|
|Sat 9 July||Crusaders 10 Hull Kingston Rovers 38||2,820|
|Sat 9 July||Harlequins 6 Wigan Warriors 38||4,423|
|Sun 10 July||Castleford Tigers 34 Bradford Bulls 30||7,004|
|Sun 10 July||Wakefield Wildcats 6 St Helens 46||5,985|
|Sun 10 July||Catalan Dragons 38 Leeds Rhinos 18||10,688|
Engage Super League 16 Table - After This Round
|9||Hull Kingston Rovers||21||9||0||12||552||556||-4||18|
|10||Salford City Reds||21||9||0||12||446||613||-167||18|
*Crusaders and Wakefield both deducted 4 points for entering administration.