Charnley claims hat-trick as Wigan exact revenge
Wigan 54 Widnes 12
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Tuesday 26 June 2012
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).
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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