Ainscough runs amok to lift Wigan

Wakefield 26 Wigan 40
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The Independent Online

Crucial contributions from their two newest talents won a game for Wigan that some of their more senior players had seemed intent on throwing away.

Shaun Ainscough only played because George Carmont went down with tonsillitis, but his four tries made it a total of 16 less than halfway through an astonishing debut season.

Sam Tomkins played more of a cameo role, but it was two exciting, instinctive runs from him that set up the tries which made the difference.

"He has superb prowess," said Brian Noble of Ainscough, the young winger. "But he is a work in progress."

That progress looked rapid indeed at Belle Vue. After Cameron Phelps had equalised Damien Blanch's opening try, Ainscough scored twice to give Wigan a 10-point lead. Both Wigan tries came from fine passes from Tim Smith, preferred to Tomkins in the line-up.

Wakefield began their fightback with a Danny Brough penalty – one of far too many that Wigan conceded. The visitors then made the first of their glaring errors, Pat Richards giving the ball away for Brough to score.

Martin Gleeson did the same thing 10 minutes later. Fortunately for Wigan, in between those two blemishes Ainscough completed his hat-trick on the end of a flowing move.

"Some of our execution was excellent, but we gave them every opportunity to beat us and we'll have to be a lot better in two weeks' time," said Noble, referring to the Challenge Cup tie between the clubs.

The ration for the second half began with Blanch – later to go off with a serious knee injury – outjumping Ainscough to force down Brough's kick. That put the Wildcats back in front, but they lost the lead when Phelps scored a soft try, latching on to a Smith kick.

Ironically, for a game filled with such hectic attacking action, it swung on one spell of convincing defence from the visitors, keeping out three sets of tackles on their own line.

Having survived that, Tomkins' superb run set up the position for Ainscough's fourth and another foray through a tiring defence prepared the way for Gleeson's clincher.

Wakefield: Blaymire; Blanch, S Gleeson, Atkins, Grix; Martin, Brough; Wilkes, Drew, Snitch, Pitts, Ferguson, Demetriou. Substitutes used: Sculthorpe, Obst, Henderson, Moore.

Wigan: Richards; Roberts, M Gleeson, Phelps, Ainscough; Smith, Leuluai; Fielden, Riddell, Coley, Hock, Bailey, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used: Paleaaesina, J Tomkins, Prescott, S Tomkins.

Referee: B Thaler (Castleford).