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Rugby league paid its respect to Rob Burrow and his family and friends by delaying the kick-off of today’s Challenge Cup Final to seven minutes past three in recognition of the ‘pocket rockets’ Leeds shirt number after his passing last Sunday which caused immense sadness throughout the community.

Wigan Warriors went into the game as favourites to beat a Warrington Wolves side who some fancied as strong underdogs thanks to the coaching of Sam Burgess who has teased some great performances out of his side in his first year in charge.

Warrington had a six-point start on the handicap coupon but Wigan coach Rob Peet had spent the week telling his side not to underestimate their opposition although they would have needed little instruction after recording just a single point win in the Cup Final rehearsal last weekend.

The atmosphere was terrific as the sides entered the stadium, Warrington kicking off and Wigan to have first use of the football.

A swinging arm from Mike Cooper on Josh Thewlis with just under two minutes on the clock saw the Wigan prop yellow carded, a terrible start for the Warriors. Warrington spilled the ball on the first play after the penalty and Matt Dufty swung his arm at Liam Marshall, the Warrington man joining Cooper in the bin.

Wigan were pinged for offside on their own line on eight minutes, and Josh Thewlis pointed at the sticks and gave his side a two-point lead with a simple kick from in front of the posts.

On sixteen the Warriors hit the front as Zach Eckersley chased and grounded a Bevan French grubber. Harry Smith added the conversion to edge Wigan into a 6-2 lead.

On twenty-two the lead was doubled as French stepped off both feet to jink his way to the line, going over on his back and grounding for the second Wigan try. Smith hit the target again and in the space of six minutes, Wigan had gone into a ten-point lead.

With five seconds of the half remaining French slid towards the line on his back and one-handed managed to ground the ball above his head with his fingertips. The referee sent the decision up as a ‘NO TRY’ and the video referee agreed after spotting a double movement.

As the referees’ whistle brought the first half to a close, Warrington were still in the game, but only by the skin of their teeth. They needed the first points of the second half, if they conceded again, it was likely all over.

The game was over of fifty-six minutes when a neat pass from Jai Field found Liam Farrell who sprinted forty metres to the line and grounded under the last ditch attempted tackle. Smith was on target to maintain a perfect record on the afternoon.

A high tackle on George Williams under the shadow of the Wigan sticks gave them a golden opportunity to pull a try back. Kicking on the third tackle they forced a goal-line drop out. A couple of tackles in Dufty weaved his way to the line to score under the H, Thewlis kicking the goal quickly for 8-18, a small glimmer of hope for the Wire with just over quarter of an hour remaining.

On seventy-one, Harry Smith missed a drop goal which looked more difficult to miss than score.

Warrington struggled to get into the Wigan half in the remaining ten, let alone trouble the Wigan line as the Warriors cruised to the win after doing all of the work in the first half, their twenty-first time of picking up the famous old trophy.

Bevan French won the Lance Todd Trophy for an excellent game marshalling his troops and scoring a crucial try. Wigan dominated the game from the outset and never looked like they wouldn’t be the ones taking the spoils. Warrington kept the margin to just ten points, slightly more than the bookies predicted, but the scoreline belies just how dominant Wigan were.

Wigan Warriors: Field, Miski, Eckersley (T), Wardle, Marshall, French (T), Smith (3/3 G), Cooper (SB on 2), O’Neill, Thompson, Nsemba, Farrell (T), Ellis. Subs: Havard, Mago, Leeming, Byrne. 18th Man: Walters. 

Warrington Wolves: Dufty (T, SB on 3), Thewlis (2/2 G), King, Tai, Ashton Williams, Drinkwater, Harrison, Walker, Vaughan, Nicholson, Fitzgibbon, Currie.  Subs: Musgrove, Bullock, Crowther, Powell. 18th Man: Ratchford.

Half-Time: 12-2.

Full-Time: 18-8.

Score Progression: (SB), (SB), 0-2, 4-2, 6-2, 10-2, 12-2 : HT: 16-2, 18-2, 18-6, 18-8 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: Warrington - Wigan.

Referee: Chris Kendall.  



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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 8th Jun 2024 4:57 PM | Views : 2518 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES