Saturday, 8 June 2013

Wigan Edge Thriller At Widnes

Wigan stretched their winning run to 13 in all competitions after a close encounter away to Widnes and got their revenge for the 37-36 loss suffered last season.

In a repeat of last season, Wigan were forced to field a weakened side due injuries to eight of the first team and meant Ryan Hampshire made a debut from the bench while Lewis Tierney made his debut at full-back.

Despite their inexperience it was Wigan who opened the scoring in the second minute as Logan Tomkins outfoxed the defence to claim his first Super League try and make sure the Tomkins name graced the scoreboard with brother Sam injured and Charnley converted for a 0-6 lead.

Widnes hit back within minutes as a clever pass out to the wing allowed Ah Van to race over the line with ease but Owens missed conversion left them behind at 4-6.

Wigan increased the lead in the 14th minute to the joy of former Warriors great Jason Robinson who saw his son Tierney score his first Wigan try after a good assist by Tuson and Charnley's second conversion put them clear at 4-12.

Widnes fell further behind in the 23rd minute after superb vision from Williams who spotted Gelling in space and hit a pinpoint kick out to the winger who collected and dived over the line, Charnley missed a tough kick but Wigan led by 12 at 4-16.

Widnes reduced the gap four minutes later after a line break by Hanbury sent him clear and near the line he offloaded to Lawton who went over for the try, Owens added the conversion to bring them to 10-16,  they drew level just before the break after nice play saw Winterstein go over and Owens second goal put the teams at 16 all.

Wigan replicated their start with a try just as early in the second half as a high Widnes kick was caught by Tierney on his own line and he passed to Charnley who sidestepped a Pickersgill tackle and raced the length of the pitch unchallenged to score a magnificent try while his conversion put Wigan 16-22 up.

The sides were level again in the 50th minute as Hanbury snuck over the line after spotting a gap followed by a super kick from Owens bringing the score to 22 all. Wigan could have regained the lead as Hansen went over but a knock on by Tomkins in the build up meant the video ref chalked the score off.

Widnes led after Ah Van scored his second just before the hour mark but Owens' missed conversion meant the lead was only four points but still 26-22. Wigan make two successive errors which put them under pressure and came so close to falling further behind as Ah Van looked to have completed his hat-trick but after being reviewed by the video ref he was found to have been in touch before grounding the ball.

Wigan pulled Widnes back as Gelling hit his second try with the award by the video ref after a call for obstruction was denied but Charnley's missed kick put the score at 26 all. Both sides looked to regain the lead but it was the insight of Sam Powell that pushed Wigan ahead with a stunning drop goal from 35 metres out to give a lead of 26-27.

Powell was instrumental in Wigan pushing further ahead as a superb offload close to the line out Taylor in for his first Wigan try and with Charnley kicking the goal, Wigan had a seven point lead at 26-33. The lead was tested with two minutes to go as Ah Van did complete his hat-trick and Owens' goal meant Wigan led by a solitary point at 32-33.

Widnes will be ruing their last chance which saw them put the ball into touch with the last play of the game when the options to run or kick for goal looked easier and their error allowed Wigan to celebrate a deserved but hard fought two points which saw them go five clear at the top after a surprise win for Hull KR over Huddersfield.

A really tense game and up there as one of the best we have seen this season, my prediction of a Wigan win was correct but the margin shocked a lot of people. The main positive was the first scores for Tomkins, Tierney and Taylor showing the future is bright for Wigan.