- The Warriors came out winners in a fierce test at Robin Park Leisure Centre on Sunday.
- After being named in the latest England squad, Declan Roberts and Adam Rigby both crossed for four tries each.
- FT | Wigan Warriors 64-48 Halifax Panthers.
Wigan kicked off the second half of the Wheelchair Super League season in a thrilling clash against Halifax Panthers at Robin Park Leisure Centre on Sunday.
It was the Away side that took an early lead with two tries by Wayne Boardman catching Wigan cold. Rob Hawkins added the extras with two successful conversions to make it 12-0 within 6 minutes.
The Cherry & Whites were able to get their scoring underway when Declan Roberts was able to waltz through the defence and touchdown. This was improved with back to back tries by Adam Rigby, the first in the left corner off Martin Norris, the second in the opposite corner after a left to right passing move saw D. Roberts supply the final pass. Having missed his first attempt, D. Roberts was able to convert both tries and give Wigan a 16-12 lead.
Halifax finished the first phase of the season top of the table, and with three quick fire tries they showed why. A neat cut out pass by Boardman put Nathan Holmes away down the left flank, before Rob Hawkins opened his account with a try in the same corner. Holmes then doubled his tally with a try through the middle as he crashed over to score. ‘Fax had now regained control to lead 28-16.
After 20 minutes, Phil Roberts thrust new recruit Lenny Izzard into the action and it was only a matter of minutes before he was crossing the try line, D. Roberts providing the killer pass to put him in at the corner. That is what you call a successful interchange.
With Wigan on the attack and unprepared to take the tackle, they started to offload the ball. The handling was slick and decisive, and with the Panthers having to scramble from left to right, it only needed one little gap for Rigby to break the line and complete his hat trick. With a successful kick, D. Roberts tied the scores at 28 apiece.
The final word of the half went to the visitors as they were able to score again in the left corner, this time it was a looped pass that caught out the Wigan defence. Making it 5 from 6 conversions, Hawkins took the half time score to 34-28 in his sides favour.
After a slow start to the first half, Wigan weren’t going to make the same mistake again. Looking to tie the scores for the third time in the game, D. Roberts passed to the supporting Chris Greenhalgh down the right touchline. Showing great hands, Greenhalgh did well to take in the pass and remain composed enough to evade the tackler and touchdown.
Scoring his fourth of the afternoon, Rigby found itself in space in the middle of the court and was well placed to put the Warriors back in charge. With D. Roberts continuing his success from the kicking tee, the score was now 40-34.
Halifax were next to cross, Boardman also completing his hat-trick in an end to end game but taking the ball forward at pace, the Cherry & Whites were in again when D.Roberts scored to the left of the uprights.
D.Roberts was then able to give Martin Norris the opportunity to score his first try of the game and extend Wigan’s lead to 14 points after an hour of play. Not to be outdone, the Panthers came back with two further tries to set up a grandstand finish. Hawkins was the first scorer, before Boardman took his personal tally to four, and with one of the kicks going between the posts, the Panthers were now just 4 points adrift with 10 minutes remaining.
Sealing a Man of the Match performance, D. Roberts crossed twice more in the final 2 minutes, converting both tries, to take the game out of the reach of Halifax, but both teams should be proud of putting on an awesome display. The final score finished 64-48 to the Warriors.
Once the dust had settled, Head Coach Phil Roberts had his say: “I was very pleased with our composure and resilience today after going a couple of scores down early on. It was an intense game that could have gone either way and was really in the balance until about the 70 minute mark. We played some superb rugby in spells and probably over-played in others, but it is reassuring to know that not only did we get the result, but that we still have improvement in us.”
Wigan Warriors: Chris Greenhalgh, Martin Norris, Declan Roberts, Adam Rigby, Matt Wooloff.
Interchanges: Reece Duddle, Ste Mort, Phil Roberts, Lenny Izzard, Shaun Gash.
Tries: D. Roberts (4), Rigby (4), Izzard, Greenhalgh, Norris.
Conversions: D. Roberts 10/11
Halifax Panthers: Wayne Boardman, Tom Martin, Tom Green, Rob Hawkins, Jordan Holt
Interchanges: Nathan Holmes, Nathan Mulhall
Tries: Boardman (4), Holmes (2), Hawkins (2), Martin
Conversions: Hawkins 6/9
The Warriors next fixture is on 9th July when Wigan Warriors play London Roosters in the Magic Round, held at the National Basketball Centre.