Edwards kicks Wigan along

Rugby League Wigan 40 Castleford 8
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The Independent Online
Wigan, relatively muted for much of the match, cut loose in the latter stages to maintain their sequence of big wins over all comers in the Stones Centenary Championship.

Not for the first time this season Wigan were a little slow into their stride against a side who knew that they must hit them with everything early on if they were to have any hope.

Virtually nothing had been seen of Wigan in attack until Shaun Edwards' precise kick put Martin Offiah in at the corner in the 24th minute. Andrew Farrell, who also kicked the conversion, had landed two penalties, but all the better play had come from Castleford, who could have been further ahead than a mere two points. They had put together a good try, begun by Tony Smith's side-stepping run through a strangely flat-footed Wigan defence, and finished by Lee Harland.

It was typical of Wigan that once they had made one breakthrough they quickly made another. Within five minutes of Offiah's try, Edwards' kicking again created confusion, producing a knock-on under a bomb and Edwards himself scooting over straight from the resulting scrum.

Despite having Tony Smith in the sin-bin at the start of the second half, Castleford again began well, a spell of pressure yielding a penalty kicked by Colin Maskill. Wigan were not playing with any real fluency, but they edged further in front when Kelvin Skerrett and Dean Sampson renewed old hostilities and Farrell kicked his fifth goal.

The signs that Wigan were getting back to normal were there when Offiah got over the line only to be turned on to his back and Henry Paul strolled through from the scrum. Soon after Paul's pass sent Va'aiga Tuigamala storming through and Wigan were totally in command.

Barrie-Jon Mather and Mick Cassidy added further tries as Wigan emphasised the gap between them and the rest in last quarter of the match. It is simply not enough to keep them quiet for 50 or 60 minutes and a team does not exist in Britain that can do so for 80.

Wigan: Radlinski (Mather, 29); Robinson, Tuigamala (Craig, 71), Connolly, Offiah; Paul, Edwards, Skerrett (Johnson, 51), Hall (Dermott, 60), Cowie, Haughton, Cassidy, Farrell.

Castleford: J Flowers; C Smith, Marchant, Flynn, Middleton; T Smith (Coventry, 63), Stephens, Crooks (Sykes, 28), Maskill, Sampson (S Flowers, 70), Harland (Eden, 70), Schick, Smales.

Referee: S Cummings (Widnes).

n Salford have signed the New Zealand full-back, Peter Edwards. Edwards, who has been playing for the Auckland Warriors, is due to arrive today.

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