Rugby League: Wigan punish heroic Hull

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The Independent Online
Hull KR. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

Wigan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26

HULL KINGSTON ROVERS' best chance of avoiding relegation might still be a meeting today that could rule that no one will go down. The guts and determination that made Wigan work hard for an 11th consecutive victory last night would not be undeserving of a reprieve.

There was no hint that the whole of the First Division table separates them in the way that Rovers set about Wigan.

Nobody has been able to fault them for lack of effort this season so it was no surprise that they should defend doggedly, tackling magnificently and dealing confidently with the variety of kicks to which Wigan resorted.

What was more startling was how alert they looked in attack and they fully deserved their eight-point lead.

Mike Fletcher put them ahead with a penalty after Andrew Farrar had gone high on Garry Brown, but the level of excitement really began to rise with a fine Rovers' try in the 24th minute. The Australasian centre partnership of Dean Clark and David Liddiard made the initial breach in an unusually tentative Wigan defence. Wayne Parker kicked ahead and although Parker was obstructed Richard Chamberlain was in support to claim a try which was improved by Fletcher.

A long period of pressure in the home 25 finally put Wigan on the scoreboard five minutes before half-time. Even then Rovers threw everything they could find into the path of Andy Platt as he charged on to Shaun Edwards' short pass. Platt's sheer power took him over but Frano Botica missed the goal- kick.

Botica had a try disallowed for a double movement soon after the break and Wigan had Denis Betts to thank for the try that put them ahead in 50th minute. Betts did well to slip a pass to Sam Panapa and even better to back up and take a return pass to score, Botica this time adding the goal.

Within four minutes, Jason Robinson broke the defence to send in Panapa for another converted try and Martin Offiah's weaving run down the left flank set up Edwards. Rovers then came back with a try by Mike Bibby. But Wigan swiftly replied with a solo run by Mick Cassidy.

Hull Kingston Rovers: M Fletcher (P Fletcher, 68); Brown, Liddiard, Clark, Bibby; Parker, Chatfield (Jackson, 79); C Harrison, Chamberlain, Jackson (Gotts, 61), P Fletcher (Hoe, 54), D Harrison, Speckman.

Wigan: Atcheson; Robinson, Lydon, Farrar, Offiah; Botica (Cowie, 66), Edwards; Cowie (Cassidy, 55), Hall, Platt, Betts, Panapa, Bell (Mather, 55).

Referee: J Smith (Halifax).