Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Warriors Crush Vikings To Reach Semi

Wigan sealed a place in the Challenge Cup Semi Final against London with a crushing win over an error-strewn Widnes last night.

Wigan welcomed back Sam Tomkins and Sean O'Loughlin to the side after being sidelined in recent weeks and were influential early on as Green broke away only to fumble with the line in sight.

Widnes lost possession in a series of errors which saw Charnley scoop up the ball and race down the wing to score under the sticks to wild applause from the home fans and Richards' easy conversion put Wigan 6-0 up.

Two minutes later, Widnes fooled around with the ball with three fumbles in succession and again Charnley was on hand to collect the ball and race unchallenged to the line and seal the easiest brace of his career with another easy kick from Richards making it 12-0.

Widnes fell three scores behind inside 18 minutes as a superb pass from Green to Hansen sent him clear and in racing towards the line, he picked out Tomkins in support who flew over the line for an easy score and Richards hit a third conversion for an 18-0 lead.

Widnes needed to stop their errors to prevent a thrashing but they failed to learn their lesson as another error in the 20th minute saw a carbon copy of the previous try as Hansen picked out Tomkins who went over only to be denied via the Video Ref and Widnes blushes were saved with a scrum awarded.

Wigan couldn't believe their look as Hansen broke clear and found Farrell who had three in support and offloaded to Smith who went over for a superb try and Richards converted for a 24-0 lead and Widnes were quickly falling out of the game. Widnes had a great chance in the 31st minute as Ah Van broke away down the wing but the lack of support saw him tackled before the line but he did get on the score sheet within a minute as a slick kick by Brown was collected by the winger who swept over for the try with Owens missing the conversion, Widnes were 24-4 behind.

Brown went from hero to villain as an erroneous pass saw Charnley collect and race 90 metres to score and seal a gifted hat trick - scoring all three without receiving a pass and Richards kept up his 100% success rate with the conversion for a half time lead of 30-4.

Widnes needed a good start to the second half to keep the chance of a comeback hopeful but from the kick off they conceded a drop-out with the catch being in touch and Wigan used the gift as Farrell raced clear to the line after a nice pass from O'Loughlin to widen the gap as Richards kicked for a 36-4 lead.

Wigan took Tomkins off with the job seemingly done and on came young Hampshire to deputise at full back and minutes later, O'Loughlin also came off with Dudson replacing him and the Welshman made an instant impact by collecting a pass from Green to race towards the line and pick out Hampshire who went over for his first senior try in Cherry and White and Richards made it 42-4 with his seventh conversion.

An error from Wigan prevented them from extending the lead as a Goulding intercepted a Widnes pass only to drop with a clear field ahead of him but Wigan did hit an eighth try in the 66th minute as a drop by Mellor saw Green collect and race to the line for a well deserved try with Richards kicking for a 48-4 lead.

Widnes needed a miracle and nearly hit back as Hanbury broke the Wigan line but a pass to Phelps was fumbled and Wigan regained possession, but Widnes soon had a another go and Hanbury and Clarke combined to pick out Ah Van but the winger's pass couldn't find Phelps and meant another chance wasted.

The final seconds ticked down and Ah Van tested the Wigan line only to be forced into touch followed by celebration by the Wigan players as the hooter sounded to confirm a comfortable win and seal a tie against London in a fortnight.

A good game made easy by Widnes' errors and prediction wise, 36-12 was looking on until Widnes collapsed in the second half but 48-4 not too far off but the negative was the attendance as 6.327 is poor. The game may have been on TV but so will Saints on Monday and there will be twice the crowd so there is no excuse why it was so empty.