Rugby League: Wigan go waltzing to final

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Wigan. . .48

Oldham. . .8

THE Great Britain coach had all his worst fears confirmed as Wigan ensured that their 10 or so World Cup candidates will play in the Lancashire Cup final six days before Wembley. It is an absurd situation, but one which Oldham never looked remotely like preventing last night.

Oldham were the last side to beat Wigan in the Challenge Cup six seasons ago, but any idea that the memory might inspire them to a sentimental reprise lasted barely a few minutes at Central Park.

Denis Betts took advantage of poor tackling for the first try and then Jason Robinson crossed. Frano Botica, who also kicked four first-half goals, outflanked the defence for the third try and Robinson ran in after intercepting an over-ambitious pass.

Botica sent Joe Lydon over for a fifth just before the interval. This was too much for Oldham, lacking several regulars through injury and who had little more than the barging runs of Tiny Solomona to offer.

Shaun Edwards's 18th try of the season started the second half in the same vein. To their credit, Oldham produced improved defence to slow down the damage and scored themselves when Barry McDermott plunged over.

Lydon's second try and an effort from Barrie-John Mather sealed the passage into a final against the winners of tonight's match beteween St Helens and Salford on 18 October.

Wigan: Lydon; Robinson, Bell (McGinty, 57), Farrar, Panapa; Botica, Edwards; Cowie, Dermott (Crompton, 55), Skerrett, Betts, McGinty (Mather, 26), Clarke.

Oldham: Tyrer; Gumbs, Cocker, Gibson, Bradbury; Martyn (McDermott, 45), Kerry; Sherratt, Stephenson, Solomona, McDermott (Jones, 23), Meadows, Russell.

Referee: R Whitfield (Widnes).