Charnley claims hat-trick as Wigan exact revenge

Wigan 54 Widnes 12
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The Independent Online

Wigan duly exacted the predictable revenge for the most unpredictable result of the season, by winning a 10th Super League match in a row for the first time since 2000 last night.

Josh Charnley led the way with a hat-trick of tries and a total of 26 points, but it was not vintage Warriors and may have left Widnes feeling that they had got off relatively lightly.

Top against bottom, leading scorers against the side who have conceded most points. It has an air of inevitability about it, until you recall that the last time these two teams met in March Widnes won.

Any prospect of that bolt of lightning striking again seemed to recede as early as the third minute, when Charnley took Liam Farrell's pass for his 23rd try of the season.

That was an isolated lapse in some enthusiastic early defence, but there was a worse one after 10 minutes when Michael McIlorum strolled through completely untouched .

Ben Cross got one back against his former club to give Widnes some respite. They would have had a second, but for Jack Hughes' chase back to stop Joe Mellor, while some slack Wigan play kept them scoreless until Paul Prescott forced his way over five minutes from the break. Anthony Gelling kept up his excellent try-scoring form with the fifth Wigan try before Mellor revived Widnes' interest.

Shaun Wane did not seem unduly impressed with his table-toppers at half-time, but they extended their lead through Brett Finch and Charnley's second.

There was still no sign of Widnes collapsing completely, nor of the cricket score which had been widely predicted. One thing that they could not cope with, however, was the finishing of Charnley, who sneaked in for his third.

Finch claimed his second, with Charnley again on target. It had, in the end, been little more than target practice for Wigan, for whom Sam Tomkins scored a belated last-minute try.

Wigan S Tomkins; Charnley, Goulding, Carmont, Gelling; O'Loughlin, Finch; Mossop, McIlorum, Lauaki, Hughes, Hock, Farrell. Substitutes used Prescott, L Tomkins, Lloyd, Crosby.

Widnes Phelps; Flynn, Dean, I sa, Ah Van; Hanbury, Mellor; Cross, McShane, Pickersgill, Winterstein, Allen, Cahill. Substitutes used Briscoe, Davies, Craven, Gerrard.

Referee T Alibert (France).