Rugby League: Wigan beaten again

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The Independent Online
Wigan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

Warrington. . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

WIGAN slumped to a second successive league defeat against a side who had not won in the First Division since 1 November. Warrington, only two places from the foot of the table before the match, deserved their victory, battling with unbeatable commitment and determination.

A frantic start brought Wigan a quick reward when Greg Mackey conceded a penalty for taking a pot shot at Jason Robinson. No other kicker in the league would have attempted the penalty from the touchline, but Frano Botica clipped it over with ease.

Botica landed a second penalty, from wide on the other side on the half-hour, but in between the play was dominated surprisingly by Warrington. They took the lead when Tony Thorniley ran on to a pass from Kelly Shelford for a try, which he improved himself.

Warrington's forwards harassed Wigan into some uncharacteristic errors, as well as depriving them of possession from the scrum on two of their own feeds. The pressure that Wigan were under forced Shaun Edwards to touch down voluntarily behind his own line to buy time. Such desperate remedies and a good measure of luck saw Wigan through to half- time a mere two points behind.

Warrington could have edged further ahead straight after the break when Kevin Ellis's drop goal attempt hit the post. As Warrington continued to press, Gary Tees was forced back over the try- line and Gary Sanderson had a try disallowed for offside when he dived on to Mackey's kick.

Wigan seemed certain to crack when Martin Dermott threw the ball away five yards from his line, but Neil Harmon failed by inches to get the ball over.

At last the second try came when Wigan again conceded possession and Allan Bateman's pass allowed Rob Myler to squeeze in at the corner. Thorniley missed the conversion but within two minutes Shelford opened the gap to seven points with an inspirational 45-yard drop goal.

Wigan: Hampson; Robinson, Bell, Farrar, Panapa; Edwards, Botica; Cowie (Cassidy, 47), Dermott, Gildart, Mather (Atcheson, 25; Mather 56), Betts, Clarke.

Warrington: Penny; Myler, Bateman, Thorniley, Forster; Ellis, Mackey; Chambers (Tees, 23), Mann (Shelford, 74 min), Harmon, Cullen, Sanderson, Shelford (Darbyshire, 67).

Referee: J Holdsworth (Kippax).