Wigan see an escape as crisis looms at Castleford

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The Independent Online

Wigan continued their late-season revival to pull clear of their three engage Super League relegation rivals on Friday night. While the Warriors snatched a 14-10 win over Challenge Cup finalists Huddersfield, there were defeats for Wakefield and Castleford on a night of drama.

Wakefield remain in the relegation spot after being pipped 14-12 by Leeds, but Castleford are only a point ahead after they suffered a 48-10 hammering at Bradford.

Huddersfield, without four members of their likely cup final team because of injury, led 10-8 going into the final quarter, but Danny Orr's 73rd-minute try enabled Wigan to claim an eighth victory from their last nine matches. While Wigan climbed to eighth in the table, Huddersfield head to Twickenham after a third successive defeat.

Leeds ended their five-match losing run, but it was a close-run thing at Belle Vue, where Wakefield battled back to level the scores at 12-12 early in the second half thanks to a Tom Saxton try. Jamie Rooney missed the conversion and it was the Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield's 52nd-minute penalty that proved the difference in the end.

Asked if his side could still survive, the Wildcats coach, John Kear, insisted: "Yes we can - just look how we played tonight. We played a very good and accomplished game of rugby league."

At Odsal, the defending champions, Bradford, ran riot to regain easily the two points docked by their salary-cap breach and pile on the agony for Castleford, who look a club in crisis.

The Bulls won at a canter, running in nine tries against a Tigers side that still looked to be in shock from their club-record 72-4 hammering by St Helens five days earlier. Three of the tries were scored with Castleford down to 12 men, firstly through the sin-binning of Peter Lupton just before half-time and then from the dismissal of the young prop Jason Payne nine minutes from the end for a high tackle on Stanley Gene.

Payne's sending-off came in only his second Super League appearance, and he was distraught after the match. "He's beside himself," said his coach, Terry Matterson. "He feels he let his team-mates down. It was probably a bit of frustration from the young kid. He just went over the top."