Saturday, 30 March 2013

Warriors Triumph In Good Friday Derby

A pulsating Good Friday derby at the DW between Wigan and St Helens saw the Warriors claim the first bragging rights of the 2013 season with a fabulous performance.

The opening minutes saw both sides fail to complete sets with a succession of drives followed by fifth tackle kicks an early chance came for Saints when Wellens broke free but his pass wide missed Gardner and went into touch.

Wigan broke the deadlock in the t33rd enth minute after a nice combination of Green and Smith gave Thornley a run to the line and he supplied a nice pass for Richards to go over for an easy try to send the stadium into a rapturous roar and a sweet touchline conversion put Wigan up 6-0.

St Helens came close to going further behind in the 17th minute as Flower broke clear through the line but he passed back and found Saints arms rather than a team-mates but Wigan added their second score six minutes later as Hughes broke free and with an awesome pass found Sam Tomkins who raced over the line to the anger of the travelling fans, Richards converted and Wigan led 12-0.

Saints pushed to get back into the game and Wigan defended well after being forced to kick three consecutive goal-line dropouts which ended with Turner dropping for Saints and handing Wigan the ball back.

Saints hopes of a comeback suffered a blow in the 33rd minute as a high kick from Jones hit the ground near the Wigan line allowing Charnley to scoop up and race the length of the field to cross for an unbelievable try, he charged 90 meters unchallenged leaving marker Meli in his dust in a time of 13 seconds which sent the home fans wild and Richards went three for three with the successful conversion to give Wigan an eighteen point lead.

In the build up to Jones' kick, Gardner went down in a heap and after the score went off looking in a bad way to further damage the Saints charge which could have been made even worse just before the break as a run from Charnley and a pass to Hughes put Wigan clear but on receiving, Hughes dropped to save Saints blushes.

Saints started the second half well by forcing an early dropout after Wilkin's grubber kick went through Tomkins grasp but they failed to turn the luck into a try but their luck changed within minutes as a Turner kick found Wellens who was tackled inches from the line.

Then from the next play he found Clough who went over but the try was sent to the Video Referee and after a couple of looks the try was awarded and Saints were on the scoreboard with Percival sending over a successful conversion to make it 18-6.

Saints seemed to have their tails up and were it not for strong defence by Wigan they would have gone in for a second try but Wigan registered the next score as from a 20m restart Josh Charnley went on a nice run and the combination of Smith and Green found Dom Crosby who went over for a superb try which was a deserved reward for a fine afternoon's work and Richards' conversion retained Wigan's eighteen point gap at 24-6.

Saints got a massive bit of luck from the kick off as Sam Tomkins dropped the catch after backing into Ben Flower on the line and a penalty for Saints allowed Makinson to setup Meli for the try but Percival's missed conversion meant the gap was fourteen points requiring Saints to score three more to win.

They could have gone further behind after a good Wigan move left Crosby on the line with an oncoming pass but his momentum saw him drop with a second try being so close and minutes later, Saints were on the board again as Meli passed for Makinson to go over in the corner and this time Percival was successful and meant Wigan led 24-16 with ten minutes to go.

Wigan all but sealed the win within two minutes of Makinson's try as a sweet pass by Farrell allowed Richards to charge for the line and go over but Silverwood went to the Video Ref as it was unclear whether Richards had entered in touch before grounding the ball but on review it was deemed he was safe and as the try was confirmed it resulted in a deafening roar from the Warriors faithful and despite failing to convert his own try, Richards had surely sealed a brilliant win.

Saints charged to comeback in the final minutes but to no avail and with Dom Crosby receiving a deserved man of the match award in front of an attending 23,861 and the hooter sounding, Wigan had defeated their fierce rivals in an amazing game which truly lived up to previous Easter meetings and sent them top of the table for the time being.

Despite predicting a Wigan win by 12 points which did come true I went for 16-20 on a bet so got one right and one wrong but a saving grace was the news later on that Warrington and Huddersfield had lost meaning Wigan stayed top on points difference going into an Easter Monday tie at Hull KR.