'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).

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Text messaging changes as a relationship evolves
life
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid
football
News
peoplePerformer had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer
Life and Style
food + drink
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

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?