Huddersfield make history as crisis deepens for Betts

Wigan 24 Huddersfield 26
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The Independent Online

Huddersfield achieved an historic result to deepen the sense of crisis at Wigan last night, winning there in the league for the first time in 48 years and completing the double over them for the first time since 1942.

Huddersfield achieved an historic result to deepen the sense of crisis at Wigan last night, winning there in the league for the first time in 48 years and completing the double over them for the first time since 1942.

They did it the hard way, trailing by 18 largely self-inflicted points in the first 15 minutes, but then showing tremendous character to fight back.

Brad Drew was an outstanding general, but no one did better than Chris Thorman, who made up for a nightmare first quarter with two tries and a series of decisions that were as shrewd as some of his earlier ones had been rash.

Their coach, Jon Sharp, described both players' performances as "a rollercoaster". "There were some fantastic passages of play from them late on," Sharp said. "Early in the game, I had to withdraw them and have a chat with them. I was delighted with the way they reacted."

Thorman admitted that he had had "a fair rollicking" at half-time. "After that, I wanted to prove myself to Jon," he said.

Wigan's eighth Super League defeat of the season intensifies the pressure on their coach, Denis Betts.

"It's not just my job," he said about the inevitable speculation. "They've got to start thinking about their jobs. Do they want to play enough?"

They seemed to be getting all the help they needed early on, when Danny Tickle got over from close range and Brett Dallas and Dennis Moran scored tries from interceptions.

Then, even after Marcus St Hilaire got them on the scoreboard, the visitors had Jim Gannon sin-binned immediately before half-time. Tickle's boot then made it a 20-4 lead for Wigan.

The second half was a different story, starting with a Thorman try. Drew's incisive run then allowed Heffin O'Hare to squeeze in at the corner, and Wigan's lead finally disappeared when Chris Nero went over.

Michael De Vere's goal from the touchline tied the scores, and it was now Huddersfield with all the momentum. With 12 minutes to play, Thorman found a gap in the Wigan defence.

The home side could have snatched an undeserved draw when Kevin Brown scored with three minutes to play, but justice was done when Tickle's conversion sailed wide.

Danny McGuire, meanwhile, celebrated his return from injury with two tries as Leeds recorded their second victory within eight days against Leigh last night, winning 42-24.

Wigan: Radlinski; Carney, Aspinwall, Vaealiki, Dallas; Orr, Moran; Seuseu, Newton, Guiset, Hansen, Wild, Tickle. Substitutes used: Brown, Sculthorpe, McDonald, Godwin.

Huddersfield: St Hilaire; O'Hare, Nero, De Vere, Donlan; Thorman, Gene; Jackson, Drew, Crabtree, Jones, Smith, Roarty. Substitutes used: March, Gannon, Grayshon, Clayton.

Referee: I Smith (Oldham)

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