Wigan prevail in bruising contest

Halifax 4 Wigan 50
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The Independent Online
Wigan came down to earth with a thud at times in a bruising match at Thrum Hall last night, but were always too good for a home side who created too many of their own problems.

Halifax, without a win in Super League, started as though determined to avoid one here. But their scrum-half, Craig Dean, frittered away a glorious chance after less than two minutes, fumbling a pass from Mike Umaga with the Wigan try line open.

Six minutes later, they were reduced to 12 men when their second rower, Michael Jackson, was sent off for a trip on Mick Cassidy, although there was a suggestion of mistaken identity.

After Andy Farrell's penalty had given Wigan the lead, Halifax's misfortune continued with a clear push on Martin Offiah denying John Bentley a try.

The misadventures went on, with Wigan making their advantage count after 20 minutes, Jason Robinson's break setting up Cassidy. Halifax were breached again when a sweeping move the length of the field ended with Shaun Edwards' flighted pass releasing Rob Smyth.

Inside a minute of the second half, Edwards was scorching through on to Farrell's pass for Wigan's third try. The teams were temporarily reduced to 11-a-side when a fight between Abi Ekoku and Neil Cowie with a late contribution from Terry O'Connor, resulted in all three being sin-binned.

But seven-a-side, 11-a-side, it makes little difference to Wigan in their current versatile mood, and Gary Connolly extended their lead as the 10 minutes of parity came to an end.

Halifax at last got the try they had threatened when their substitute, Fereti Tuilagi, went over in the corner. However, Robinson underlined Wigan's control with two quick tries.

With the Halifax captain, Karl Harrison, becoming the fourth player to use the sin-bin, Craig Murdock, Smyth and Simon Haughton added further tries as Wigan coasted home.

Halifax: Amone; Bentley, Schuster, Hallas, Ekoku; Umaga, Dean; Harrison, Rowley, W Jackson, M Jackson, Perrett, Baldwin. Substitutes used: Seal, Gillespie, Tuilagi, Highton.

Wigan: Radlinski; Smyth, Tuigamala, Connolly, Offiah; Robinson, Edwards; Cowie, Hall, O'Connor, Haughton, Cassidy, Farrell. Substitutes used: Murdock, Baynes, Johnson, Craig.

Referee: S Cummings (Widnes).