Rugby League: Briers atones for late misses
Warrington Wolves 17 Wigan Warriors 17
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.
Monday 05 July 1999
The scrum-half, who had failed with two penalties, kicked a drop goal in injury time that earned the Wolves a draw after Phil Jones' 75th minute penalty for Wigan had seemed to condemn them to defeat.
Briers and Toa Kohe-Love, Warrington's outstanding players all season, had turned the match in their direction in the minutes leading up to half- time.
They were trailing 9-2 when a Briers high kick produced a fumble from Jones and Kohe-Love, Super League's leading try scorer, swooped for another.
A minute before the break, an exquisitely delayed pass from Briers sent Kohe-Love steaming through and he was there to take the return ball for a try, which he also converted.
It got better still for Warrington when Tony Mestrov was sent to the sin-bin in injury time for holding down Kohe-Love and Briers put over the penalty for a five point lead.
Warrington had looked competitive from the start, although after an early exchange of penalties, Andy Farrell had given Wigan the whip hand with a powerful run on to Tony Smith's pass and straight through Dean Busby's tackle. Jones's conversion and a Farrell field goal increased Wigan's advantage.
At the start of the second half, Lee Penny's mistake presented Gary Connolly with a simple try. Jones then landed a penalty after Mark Forster strayed offside.
Kohe-Love had a try disallowed as the tension mounted, but Briers put Warrington back in front after Denis Betts was caught offside. Briers then missed an easy kick after Jon Clarke had been penalised for a high tackle on Danny Nutley.
Five minutes from time, Warrington, for their enterprise, seemed to have self-destructed. As Wigan piled on the pressure, Nutley gave away a penalty for flopping on to Connolly.
Jones put it over, but Wigan could have been behind again when Danny Moore was punished for holding down Wilson. This time Briers missed badly from wide out, but his vindicating moment was not far away.
Warrington Wolves: Penny; Forster, Kohe-Love, Roper, Hunte; Wilson, Wilson; Briers, Chambers, Farrar, Nutley, Gillies, Busby, Knott. Substitutes used: Hanger, Stevens, Wainwright, McCurrie.
Wigan Warriors: Radlinski; Robinson, Moore, Connolly, Jones; Florimo, T Smith; Cowie, Clarke, O'Connor, Betts, Cassidy, Farrell. Substitutes used: Mestrov, Haughton, Gilmour, M Smith.
Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).
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