Monday, 30 June 2014

Saints Secure Derby Win

After the disappointing trip to Wakefield last weekend, Wigan hosted fierce rivals St Helens on Derby Day looking to complete a first league double over the Saints since 2011.

Matt Bowen returned at Fullback with a new name on the Warriors bench in the shape of academy Halfback Jamie Doran as the Warriors aimed to return to the Super League summit and after a mixed start for both sides,Wigan opened the scoring in the ninth minute.

A superb kick from Sam Powell found Joe Burgess on the wing with the Winger crossing for a try but the decision was sent for a review and after a few looks, the try was given to the joy of the home crowd but sadly Matty Smith was unable to convert and the lead was 4-0.

Wigan looked to increase the lead and came close when George Williams tested the Saints defence with a dangerous grubber kick but with no end product and minutes later, Saints responded with a threat of their own as a nice set of passes found Tommy Makinson wide open on the wing who went over for the try. He failed to convert his own try meaning the sides were level at 4 all.

There could have been a quick response from Wigan as a nice passing set saw Joe Burgess get into a good position but the Saints defence were strong to tackle him into touch and looked to have scored a try of their own with five minutes left of the half as a kick from Lance Hohaia had the Wigan defence scrambling to stop two Saints attackers with Tommy Makinson looking to have touched down but on review it was deemed Joe Burgess had prevented the try.

The sides went into the interval level at 4 all but Wigan could have taken the lead just two minutes into the second half when a good passing set saw Anthony Gelling in space but a rushed offload saw him find touch rather than wing partner Josh Charnley.

The hurried set proved costly as the next set saw a clever kick from Jon Wilkin cause chaos for the Wigan defence with Paul Wellens taking advantage and going over for the try and despite a change of kicking duties to Mark Percival, no conversion followed meaning a 4-8 lead.

The lead could have increased when St Helens attacked with pace but their speed let them down as they knocked on when the chance to find the unmarked Adam Swift would have been the best option but the home crowd applauded minutes later when Jamie Doran came on for his senior debut wearing number 42 which shows the depth of the Warriors squad.

Doran had the perfect start to his debut as he took part in a nice set of play that saw an exquisite pass from Matt Bowen find Josh Charnley out wide with the Winger crossing or the try but continuing the trend, Matty Smith was unable to convert and the sides were level at 8 all.

A huge strategic mistake saw Josh Charnley tackled in goal after Matt Bowen had left the loose ball to him and a high tackle from the resulting set saw Saints awarded a penalty which they chose to kick at goal and Mark Percival converted it successfully for a 8-10 lead.

St Helens extended the lead after what looked like a controversial lift on Mose Masoe saw them awarded a penalty and a nice passing set resulted in Tommy Makinson scoring after being left wide open on the wing with Mark Percival converting for 8-16.

Wigan wasted a good chance to reply as after being given an extra set just metres from the St Helens line, they knocked on in the first tackle before regaining the ball and seeming to have scored when Joe Burgess crossed the Saints line. The decision was sent for a review and it was clear that the Winger had committed a double movement to the dismay of the home crowd.

The crowd roared behind their charges and it paid dividends as Sean O'Loughlin picked out Josh Charnley with the in-form Winger crossing for a superb try but the euphoria was dampened as Matty Smith's kicking troubles continued meaning a 12-16 score.

Just minutes remained and Wigan looked to call on the joy of the last-gasp Liam Farrell try from 2011 but despite gaining a penalty in a good position, the last action saw Anthony Gelling tackled just metres from the line ending any hopes of a comeback win and a first league double in three years.

Wigan will surely avoid a trio of losses when they travel to London on Saturday but with the Broncos still without a win in 2014, a shock can not be written of due to the unpredictability of this season.