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Warriors hold on
Wigan continued their late surge to reach the engage Super League play-offs with a thrilling 28-24 win against a Hull side possibly already thinking of next week?s Powergen Challenge Cup final with Leeds.
Danny Orr was the star of the show for Ian Millward?s men, bagging a brace of tries in a performance which suggested he might be returning to the form that brought him to prominence at Castleford, before injuries and loss of form began to blight his career.
The win, Millward?s first as a coach at the KC Stadium, puts Wigan joint sixth after it had seemed the play-offs were well beyond their reach after a mid-season crisis.
After a sterile opening, which was notable only for Nathan Blacklock?s two failed intercepts, Wigan eventually opened the scoring on 17 minutes. After the Warriors had been gifted a repeat set following Blacklock?s knock-on, Stephen Wild was allowed to twist close to the line and despite a possible double movement, referee Karl Kirkpatrick allowed the try.
Surprisingly Danny Tickle missed the subsequent goal from almost in front of the posts and Wigan?s four-point advantage was soon halved when Danny Brough slotted home a penalty after Orr interfered at the play the ball.
But with Wigan playing some fluid rugby which had shades of the sides Millward coached at St Helens, it was no surprise when the away side extended their lead after 26 minutes. Dennis Moran was the architect of the try, hacking ahead and then forcing Blacklock into an error, which allowed Terry Newton the simplest of tasks in grounding the loose ball.
Although Brough and 17-year-old half Tommy Lee were doing their best to spark Hull, their inability to make metres down field was costing them dear and they slipped further behind with half-time approaching.
Lapse defending close to the posts allowed Orr to jink his way to the line and somehow squeeze between the cover defence to touch down. Tickle made no mistake to convert his first of the afternoon and added a further two points on the stroke of half-time after a penalty, handing the visitors a 16-2 lead.
Although Hull opened the second half in determined fashion, with Tom Saxton on hand to score from Richard Whiting?s kick just 20 seconds after coming off the bench, Wigan were soon back into their stride, with two tries in the space of five minutes which seemed to have effectively ended the tie.
First Kevin Brown was handed a free run to the right corner after Hull?s markers at the tackle went missing and then Moran was on hand to collect his own deft kick after it hit the post and ground under the posts.
Wigan had not accounted for Brough however, who single-handedly almost brought his side back from the brink. His pass allowed Motu Tony to feed Blacklock who charged his way over in the right corner, and after converting from the touchline, Brough then carved open Wigan?s defence to feed Graeme Horne who was on hand to score under the posts.
Then Gareth Raynor was on hand to collect Chris Chester?s dab through and score, and although Brough?s effort from out wide thumped the bar, Hull were back in contention at 24-26.
Tickle did offer Wigan some respite when he extended the lead to four points by way of a penalty, although Wigan were indebted to Wild when his last-ditch tackle prevented Raynor from streaking clear for his second try. Wild was sin-binned for holding Raynor down for too long, but it mattered little as Wigan somehow held out.
Hull: Briscoe, Blacklock, Tony, G. Horne, Raynor, Lee, Brough, Dowes, Swain, Thackray, McMenemy, Kearney, Whiting. Replacements: Saxton, Chester, Higgins, McNicholas.
Wigan: Dallas, Carney, Brown, Vaealiki, Aspinwall, Orr, Moran, Seu Seu, Newton, Hargreaves, Wild, Tomkins, Tickle. Replacements: Sculthorpe, Hansen, Allen, Coyle.
Hull: 24 (2) Tries: Saxton, Blacklock, G. Horne, Raynor. Goals: Brough 4.
Wigan: 28 (16) Tries: Wild, Orr, Brown, Moran, Newton Goals: Tickle 4.
Referee: Karl Kirkpatrick (Warrington)
Thanks to www.superleague.co.uk for the above review