Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Young Warriors Rout Derby Rivals

After securing a 26-12 win over Leeds in the previous play off eliminator, Wigan made the short trip to fierce rivals St Helens in the Grand Final qualifer where table topping Warrington await the winners on October 4th.

Both sides named strong squads and with many of the starters having made their senior debuts this season for their respective sides this was the chance to prove themselves and maybe book a place in two prospective grand final lineups.

The sides had both won away in the regular season so the onus was on the Warriors to continue the rend and put themselves just one win away from retaining their Academy crown from 2013 but their hopes suffered an early blow as Matty Fozzard crossed for the Saints opening try in the seventh minute with Lewis Charnock converting for 6-0.

Matty Fleming added a second try for the hosts in the 19th minute with Lewis Charnock again successful with the conversion as St Helens opened up a 12-0 lead but Wigan fought back superbly with the foundations of a comeback laid in the 28th minute with a try from Liam Forsyth with Ryan Hampshire converting for 12-6.

Liam Forsyth crossed for a second try just six minutes later and Ryan Hampshire was on hand to convert yet again to level the score at 12-1 before the Warriors completed their stellar comeback with just three minutes left of the first half as Grant Beecham touched down for a try which with Ryan Hampshire's third successful conversion gave the Warriors an 18-12 lead at the interval.

Wigan continued their scoring spree with just two minutes played in the second half as Liam Marshall raced through the Saints defence and crossed for a try which Ryan Hampshire converted for a 24-12 lead and the Warriors took control of tie tie just four minutes later. Lewis Tierney broke through the St Helens defence for a try and despite a tough angle Ryan Hampshire converted for 30-12.

St Helens had to score next to have any hope of staging a comeback but the next score came for Wigan who used a well positioned penalty to allow Ryan Hampshire to pick out Liam Marshall for his second try of the afternoon with a tough angle resulting in Ryan Hampshire's first miss of the game at 34-12.

The win and a place in the Grand Final against Warrington was a certainty in the 68th minute as Lewis Tierney secured his second effort of the game and despite Ryan Hampshire missing a second consecutive conversion at 38-12, Wigan were comfortable.

St Helens did have the last say on the scoreboard in the 75th minute as Lewis Galbraith crossed for a try which Dave Miller converted successfully for a final score of 38-18 which sets up a Wigan/Warrington double this weekend. The senior sides will face off at the DW on Friday with the Academy Grand Final taking place at the Halliwell Jones on Saturday.