'Fantastic' Richards takes charge as Wigan resist Saints' comeback

Wigan 28 - St Helens 16

Pat Richards's second try, eight minutes from time, clinched a Wigan win which had at one time looked  inevitable but which finally had to be earned against a determined St Helens resurgence.

"I thought Pat Richards was far and away our best player," said the Wigan coach, Shaun Wane. "He's been consistently fantastic for us this season."

Richards also kicked four goals for a personal tally of 16 points in a match featuring some spectacular tries and some hugely impressive performances from players new to the demands of this derby.

The young Wigan prop Dom Crosby stood out, with a crucial try and plenty of powerful running, while Blake Green, in his first season at the club, exerted more control over the action than anyone.

For Saints, the giant front-rower, Alex Walmsley and the fleet-footed Mark Percival might have finished on the losing side, but their promise for the future was plain to see.

Injuries meant that Saints fielded a strange-looking side, with Paul Wellens and Jon Wilkin – a full-back and a second-rower – as half-backs and Stuart Howarth, once of Wigan, making his debut at hooker. Sometimes, a makeshift side can pleasantly surprise everyone, including the team themselves; in the first half there was not a hint that this might be one of those occasions.

Wigan were simply too incisive to let opponents settle into unfamiliar roles and soon led through beautifully crafted team tries finished by Richards and Sam Tomkins.

Even when Saints staged a rare attack, it blew up in their faces. They showed great initiative in keeping the ball alive in Wigan's 20, but when it went to ground Josh Charnley scooped it up and run 90 metres to touch down.

Saints were reinvigorated after the break, putting the Warriors under concerted pressure for the first time and getting their reward through Paul Clough.

Crosby replied for a Wigan side itself lacking four regular props, but back-to-back tries from Francis Meli and Tom Makinson gave St Helens the glimpse of the sort of unlikely come-back victory in which they used to specialise. But the outstanding Liam Farrell's lofted pass sent Richards away and a derby which sold out the DW Stadium for a seventh year running was decided.

Wigan: S Tomkins; Charnley, Goulding, Thornley, Richards; Green, Smith; Crosby, McIlorum, Flower, Tuson, Farrell, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used: Hughes, Taylor, L.Tomkins, Burke

St Helens: Makinson; Gardner, Turner, Percival, Meli; Wellens, Wilkin; Laffranchi, Howarth, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Jones, Manu, Walker. Substitutes used: Flanagan, Clough, Walmsley, Soliola.

Referee: R.Silverwood (Mirfield).

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried