Hull 18 Wigan 21: Colbon adds impetus to Wigan quest

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The Independent Online

Wigan's unlikely bid to crown their rollercoaster season with a grand final appearance moved a step closer to reality as they survived a late charge from Hull in another thrilling play-off clash here last night.

Wigan got the edge through a try crafted by Trent Barrett for Liam Colbon and a drop-goal from Pat Richards, but they had to defend their lead as though their lives depended on it in the last 10 minutes and somehow managed to limit Hull to a try from Gareth Raynor that brought them close but not close enough.

Wigan took an early lead thanks to two Hull blunders. First Thomas Lee lost the ball in the tackle; then, at the end of that set, Richard Whiting failed to take Barrett's high kick and merely deflected it into the arms of Richards, who scored with ease and added the conversion.

Danny Tickle cut the margin with a penalty and Hull looked certain to take the lead when Richard Horne's break split the Wigan defence. Mark Calderwood got back to stop Matt Sing, though at the cost of a penalty and some time in the sin-bin.

Just before Calderwood's reappearance the game tilted Hull's way, thanks to Matthew Head's kick, Thomas Leuluai's lackadaisical attempt to clear the loose ball and Raynor's rapid arrival to touch it down.

Three minutes later, Richard Horne darted towards the Wigan line, he seemed to have been stopped but still managed to force the ball down. Tickle, the former Wigan player, was immaculate with both his shots at goal and Richards was equally accurate with a long-range penalty before half-time.

Wigan drew level 10 minutes after the break when they chose to run a penalty and had their enterprise rewarded as Gareth Hock got over the line with his second effort. Another penalty, this time for obstructing Richards, got Wigan into Hull territory for the try that turned out to be crucial. It was created by a magical pass from Barrett, missing out two men to put Colbon over in the corner.

Hull: Tony; Sing, Whiting, Yeaman, Raynor; Washbrook, R Horne; Dowes, Lee, Carvell, Radford, Manu, Tickle. Substitutes used: Godwin, G Horne, Wheeldon, Head.

Wigan: Richards; Calderwood, Bailey, Vaealiki, Colbon; Barrett, Leuluai; Fielden, Millard, Paleaaesina, Hansen, Fletcher, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used: Goulding, Higham, Prescott, Hock.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).