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|Sunday 15th April 2012|
|Wigan Warriors 98 North Wales Crusaders 4|
|DW Stadium, Wigan|
|Carnegie Challenge Cup Round 4|
|Kick Off 3:00pm|
|1||Sam Tomkins||T6||1||Tommy Johnson|
|2||Josh Charnley||T2||G13||2||Adam Walsh|
|3||Darrell Goulding||3||Sam Broadbent|
|4||George Carmont||4||Leon Brennan|
|30||Ryan King||T2||5||Rob Massam|
|25||Joe Mellor||T||6||Andy Moulsdale|
|7||Thomas Leuluai||7||Jamie Durbin|
|8||Paul Prescott||T||8||Jonny Walker|
|28||Logan Tomkins||T||9||Lee Hudson|
|21||Epalahame Lauaki||10||Owain Brown||T|
|26||Jack Hughes||11||Iwan Brown|
|12||Gareth Hock||12||Jamie Clarke|
|16||Liam Farrell||T3||13||Jono Smith|
|9||Michael McIlorum||14||Billy Sheen|
|17||Chris Tuson||T||15||Owain Griffiths|
|22||Gil Dudson||16||Chris Tyrer|
|33||Dom Crosby||T||17||Mark Harmon|
Not much really I can add to what the final score of 98-4 tells you about this contest but Wigan will be disappointed not to have racked up 100 points, having been 82-0 up on the hour. Josh Charnley missed five conversions in all, including a sitter that would have brought up the hundred.
With the score on the hour, thoughts were towards the club record of 116-0, or stadium record of 106-8, but North Wales managed to hang in enough during the last ten minutes to avoid all that. In fact they claimed a try themselves right at the death.
The match was lit up by a certain Sam Tomkins who had a field day in scoring six tries. That is a summer era record for tries in a match for Wigan and also a new record for most tries in a match at DW Stadium, beating Sam's 5 v Whitehaven in 2008 and Pat's 5 v Catalan in 2010. His end tally also fell one try short of equalling the club record for most tries in a Challenge Cup match that was set by Johnny Ring (seven tries - achieved twice) back in the 1920s.
Shaun Wane decided to give debuts to academy talent in winger Ryan King and prop forward Dominic Crosby. King came in for Anthony Gelling on the left wing whilst Crosby went onto bench. He rested Brett Finch, Harrison Hansen and Jeff Lima, whilst Liam Farrell returned from injury. He started along with Jack Hughes in the back row whilst Logan Tomkins continued at starting hooker.
The two debuts meant that Wane has now given six debuts to academy players this season, a massive increase from just one in the whole of last year being given a chance under Michael Maguire (Jack Hughes). It means that 18 players have now played in our first team this season who have come through the clubs academy system.
In fairness to North Wales in this game, it wasn't like Wigan were just killing them with clean breaks right up the gut. That came early second half, but early on all Wigan's damage was being done on the edges.
Crusaders actually defended the kick off set we received pretty well but the first try quickly came on four minutes with quick hands getting Ryan King's Wigan career off to a perfect start in the left corner. Josh converted for 6-0.
I made it 25 minutes before Crusaders even made our half of the field with possession, so that summed up Wigan's dominance. We were pretty error free and disciplined throughout this game and off the back of that, the tries just flowed.
Second score came on 8 minutes with Sam Tomkins dummying over down the right hand side from close range. Charnley converted for 12-0. Then he was over again, this time down the left, with a simple run from a scrum. Josh missed that goal.
Fourth try followed on 19 Minutes. Error from Crusaders Scrum Half Jamie Durbin was snaffled up by Wigan. One Eric Lauaki drive later and Josh was sent in the right corner. Good work by him to round it nearer the sticks, which gave him an easier conversion for 22-0.
Four minutes later the fifth try came, although I'm sure how we got the scrum that led to this one. Gareth Hock was bursting through but tried a ridiculous offload that was never on. Looked a clear knock on, but we won the scrum and a soft try emerged from it with Tommy quickly firing out right to get King over for his second try on debut. Josh wasn't getting many easy kicks and he missed this one - 26-0.
At this point Paul Prescott and Eric Lauaki departed the field with "Henderson" Gil Dudson and Dom Crosby coming on. I think Crosby remained on the field for the rest of the game and had a excellent debut. Granted it was meek opposition but you couldn't fault him for hard work.
No sooner had Crusaders got a bit of joy by reaching Wigan's half in possession for the first time, they were gathering back under the sticks for the sixth time. It was Wigan's first clean break of the game and it came from Sam, right up the gut! Ginger Farrell once again proved what an excellent support player he is by backing up the break and receiving the pass to go under the posts. Simple conversion for Josh made it 32-0. Thenn the half hour, Sam completed his hat-trick by punishing another Crusaders error but a missed conversion left the score at 36-0.
Wane was now looking towards next week by withdrawing George Carmont from left centre, with Jack Hughes switching to that position. Mike McIlorum also came on for Logan at this point.
North Wales amazingly tried a short kick off at this point but it all went wrong for them. Not only did it fail to go ten but referee George Stokes gave them offside as well! That error led to two more tries came before half time. First Joe Mellor scooted over from close range before Sam claimed his fourth after backing up a breaks from first Crosby, then Chris Tuson. Josh converted both those efforts to make it 48-0 at the break, although King was unlucky to have an hat-trick try chalked off for a forward pass.
No doubt Crusaders would have probably talked about holding Wigan for ten minutes early second half but they managed to hold out just 57 seconds. They had a whole set in that time and had kicked to Sam on a last tackle. He gathered the ball on the left hand side, about 70 metres out, and went on a diagonal run towards the right wing. He found a half break before nailing Charnley with a beautiful pass. Josh had a couple of defenders to beat but his footwork did it and he rounded off under the posts, easy conversion for 54-0.
Wigan were now rioting with two tries quickly following that. First Chris Tuson finished a break from Thomas Leuluai before Liam Farrell claimed his second. Charnley converted both to make it 66-0 after 48 minutes.
Wane continued to withdraw key players. Farrell had actually switched to right centre at half time with Darrell Goulding being removed whilst Gareth Hock also came off on 50 minutes. Didn't stop Wigan's flow because McIlorum sent Prescott over for his first ever try in a home match at DW Stadium. Conversion made it 72-0 and straight from the kick off it was Sam claiming his fifth try. Straight up the gut from 70 metres he scored a blinder! Converted again for 78-0. Then Farrell completed his hat-trick with Sam doing the damage up the middle again. Josh hit a bad conversion but now the hour mark had been reached with an 82-0 lead.
Sam was all over them by now and another break from him on 62 minutes should have been gathered under the posts. He had been stopped a bugs dick away but had offloading towards two unmarked support players who only had to gather to go over from three metres out but they knocked on.
Didn't matter because Sam's brother Logan got in on the act on 64 minutes before Sam claimed his stadium and summer era record sixth try of the match three minutes later. Two Charnley conversions making it 94-0 with 12 minutes to go.
The 100 looked a dead cert but Wigan somehow didn't managed to achieve it. They got the try that was required when Crosby capped off his debut with a deserved try on 72 minutes. It wasn't easy but it gave Josh an easy enough conversion for the 100. Or so I thought having tweeted it before he kicked it but he missed a sitter. That worries me that. His goal kicking consistency is baffling. Sometimes he looks confident kicking blinders off the touchline but twice he missed very easy efforts during this game. He'll do a good back up job for sure but he isn't showing top quality with the boot, yet! Very harsh to expect that though I know but perhaps today was an opportunity to try Sam out and see what he can do with the goal kicking?
Anyway that missed sitter left the score at 98-0 and that proved to be our 18th and last try of the game. In fact it was Crusaders who got the last try with a 78th Minute effort from Owain Brown that had the whole stadium cheering. Conversion was missed by Leon Brennan.
Wigan had less than a minute but tried a short kick off in search of the 100 points but it was gathered and Crusaders had survived with just a double digit defeat. Wigan though are looking pretty good in kicking on towards this crucial league, then cup, then league, then cup phase of the season. Momentum is looking good but it'll be the discipline and low error rate I suspect that will please Shaun Wane most about todays performance. It's been pretty good in the past three weeks and I hope that is going to be the standard for the rest of the season.
2012 Challenge Cup Round 4 Results
Friday 13th April
Saturday 14th April
Sunday 15th April