Wigan work magic

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The Independent Online
Workington 16

Wigan 64

Wigan moved back to within two points of St Helens at the top of Super League with a predictably comprehensive victory. The improvised state of Workington Town was summed up by the sight of a bucket collection in the car park to buy new players and even the most optimistic at the club admit that survival in Super League is a secondary consideration behind surviving at all.

It was not to be expected, therefore, that the bottom team in the table would seriously inconvience a Wigan side fitting them in on a spare Saturday between appointments at Twickenham.

True to form, Town did not provide any real resistance until it was too late, effectively losing the match in the first 20 minutes by conceding as many points and then engaging in a damage limitation exercise for the rest of the match.

Some crass defensive mistakes contributed to Wigan's opening flurry of tries from Andy Farrell, Andrew Craig and Jason Robinson, even if the first two contained a hint of a forward pass. Workington succeeded in slowing down the scoring rate to some extent, limiting Wigan to further tries from Martin Hall and Shaun Edwards before half-time and even hitting back with a score of their own when strong work by Colin Armstrong created a chance for Leigh Smith in the corner.

Farrell got Wigan moving in the second half with a second try to bolster his tally of eight goals but more determined forward play from that reliable workhorse Armstrong produced a second Workington try for Stephen Holgate. Armstrong continued to typify Town's real fighting spirit, and it was his run that established the position from which John Allen went over.

Craig Murdock marked his return to the Cumbrian coast by being next for Wigan, followed by Va'aigaTuigamala, grabbing his second, and another for Robinson. There is the spirit at Workington to give them a future, but this illustrated how much they must improve - possibly through amalgamation with the other Cumbrian clubs - if that future is to be in Super League.

Workington Town: Campbell, Wallace, Fraisse, Allen, Smith, Kitchin, Marwood, Armstrong, Bethwaite, Phillips, Palmada, Holgate, Nairn. Subs used: Burns, Penrice, Carter, Filipo.

Wigan: Radlinski, Smyth, Tuigamala, Craig, Offiah, Robinson, Edwards, O'Connor, Hall, Cassidy, Haughton, Farrell, Paul. Subs used: Murdock, Baines, Johnson, Tatupu.

Referee: R Smith (Castleford).