Friday, 15 August 2014

Late Warriors Charge Denies Robins

After a fortnight without a game, Wigan made the long trip across the Pennines to face a Hull KR side still with hopes of a top- eight finish.

Wigan welcomed back former Robins half-back Blake Green to the starting line-up after a long period on the injury list dating back to the Magic Weekend with Eddy Pettybourne also returning on the bench. The Warriors traditionally start games on the front foot and despite the slippery surface, they continued that trend as Matt Bowen picked out Dan Sarginson who crossed for a try inside two minutes.

However, Richard Silverwood elected for a video review and after a number of replays, the try was successfully awarded but a tough angle meant Matty Smith was unable to convert as Wigan led 4-0 but Hull KR should have drawn level five minutes later when a nice passing set found Ade Gardner but the winger was unable to collect the ball cleanly and knocked-on just metres from the Wigan try line.

The Robins came close again a few minutes later when a pacy passing play saw Craig Hall close in on the Wigan line but a knock-on ended the scoring chance and in their next set they were close again as after Neville Costigan had been tackled just short of the line, Travis Burns kicked a dangerous grubber kick to Wigan's in-goal but Josh Charnley safely knocked the ball over the dead ball line.

The Robins did draw level after a dangerous grubber kick from Kris Keating bounced in the in-goal area and was touched down by Craig Hall and despite Richard Silverwood electing for a video review, the try was awarded after a few replays but Travis Burns was unable to convert meaning the sides remained level at 4-4.

Wigan looked to regain the lead and a fine run from Liam Farrell through the Robins defence put Wigan in good field position and the next play saw Matty Smith sent a dangerous kick forward which after after a pass from Anthony Gelling saw Josh Charnley cross for a try but Richard Silverwood elected for a video review and the try was denied as Josh Charnley appeared to have been offside in the build-up to the try.

Hull KR capitalised on the 'No Try' for the Warriors by racing down the field and taking the lead after a nice passing play found Jason Chan who crossed for a try and a good angle allowed Travis Burns to convert to open up a 10-4 lead for the Robins into half-time.

A succession of obstruction rulings began the second half before Wigan came close to closing the gap after Blake Green sent a grubber kick into the KR in-goal area but Ade Gardner was on hand to quell the danger successfully before Wigan blew a great chance in the next set when Matt Bowen knocked on just metres from the Robins line.

Both sides came close in their next few sets with testing grubbers failing to cause trouble but a costly drop from Matt Bowen close to the Robins line saw Jason Chan break clear and looking on for a certain try until a superb chase back from George Williams denied the try.

However, Chan's pacy run had put KR in a great field position and a pass out wide in the next play saw Ben Cockayne cross for an easy try which saw Travis Burns unable to convert leaving the score at 14-4. Wigan looked to be in with a great chance of reducing the deficit when Anthony Gelling found Josh Charnley but unfortunately it was via a forward pass.

Wigan did close the gap with eight minutes to go as Blake Green side-stepped through the Robins defence before spraying a superb offload to Warriors captain Sean O'Loughlin who went over near the uprights for a fine try and created an easy conversion for Matty Smith who setup a tense finish at 14-10.

Tension was high between both sets of fans going into the final minutes but with just seconds left of the 80 minutes, Wigan drew level in amazing circumstances as a dash forward from Anthony Gelling saw him offload out wide to wing partner Josh Charnley who dived over for a try that caused a raucous celebration from the travelling fans in the Colin Hutton stand which put the score at 14-14.

All eyes focused on Matty Smith who had the chance to complete a superb comeback with a touchline conversion and hearts were in the mouths of both sets of fans as he swept the ball forward but the curl saw the ball miss the uprights by just inches and the mood was a strange one as the game came to an end with the sides both claiming a point at 14-14.

The consensus was that it was a point lost for the Robins and a valued point gained for the Warriors who really got lucky right at the end after the Robins had been the better side overall and Wigan now move on to a training camp at Bath before travelling to Widnes in two weeks.