Rugby League: Warriors in rampant form

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The Independent Online
WIGAN LOST their captain, Andy Farrell, through injury in the opening minutes but still managed a 64-2 win against the Salford City Reds to move into third place in Super League.

The Warriors ran in an seven tries in 14 second-half minutes as Salford, who took the lead with a Garen Casey penalty in the seventh minute, crumbled at Central Park.

Greg Florimo, who replaced Farrell, scored the first try in opportunist fashion. He gathered the ball after it had hit the post from a Gavin Clinch penalty and forced his way over.

Wigan played free-flowing and exciting rugby league, which was never more in evidence than Tony Smith's first try when Clinch jinked through the Salford defence before looping an inside pass into the arms of his half-back partner.

When Jon Clarke grabbed a try, which owed much to the skills of the man of the match, Mick Cassidy, the floodgates opened. Jason Robinson crossed twice as did Kris Radlinski with Florimo, Neil Cowie and Smith also crossing as Salford's challenge drifted away.

Clinch, kicking instead of Farrell, converted 10 of his 12 attempts.

Deon Bird flew in for a hat-trick as Gateshead outplayed Huddersfield at the McAlpine Stadium yesterday. The 40-16 win keeps them on course for a top-five finish and was the most points scored in their short history.

The loose forward grabbed three tries in the space of 21 minutes either side of half-time to became the first Thunder player to score a hat-trick as Huddersfield, watched by only 2,219, their lowest crowd of the season, were outclassed. They were not quite as bad as in their last outing - a Super League record 86-6 defeat at Leeds - but were always second best.

Huddersfield actually took the lead in the eighth minute when Bobbie Goulding kicked through for Martin Gleeson to touch down and they held a semblance of control until the 17th minute when Andy Cheetham was carried off with a neck injury.

Play was held up for seven minutes as the winger received treatment, and 40 seconds after the action got under way Bird got his first try after Matt Daylight was allowed to run 50 metres unchallenged before passing to Steve Collins who in turn set up Bird to finish the move off.

The impressive Tony Grimaldi and Bird again went over before the break and the Giants were beaten.

Collins, Bird and Will Robinson capitalised on more absent defence within the first eight minutes of the second half to give Thunder a 30-6 lead.

Tries by Nick Fozzard and Danny Arnold gave Huddersfield some respectability, but, six minutes from time, Gareth Carvell, on loan from Leeds, touched down on his Gateshead debut and with three minutes remaining David Maiden put the finishing touches to a five-man move

Hull Sharks, bottom of the table, emerged hard-fought victors, 23-18, over the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, an eighth consecutive loss for the visitors.

Hull, with just two wins all season, completed their only Super League double to put the pressure on the team immediately above them in the table, Huddersfield.

Results, page 9

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