Wheelchair side reach Grand Final

  • Wigan Warriors Wheelchair side reach the Grand Final with win over London Roosters.
  • Declan Roberts put in an inspired performance with two tries, seven goals and a drop goal.
  • FT | London Roosters 34-43 Wigan Warriors.

Wigan Warriors Wheelchair Super League side booked their spot in the Betfred Wheelchair Super League Grand Final on Sunday 15th October with a hard-fought win over London Roosters on Sunday afternoon.

Looking to follow the example set by the Wheelchair Championship side last weekend, our Super League side travelled to the capital on Sunday afternoon for a Play-Off Semi-Final against London Roosters.

The Home side finished second in the league table, having beaten all other teams in the division, including both previous fixtures against the Warriors, so our team knew they were going to be in for a tough afternoon.

Despite that, Wigan hit the front with Dec Roberts putting Jack Heggie through a gap. The lead was then doubled when Roberts crashed over for a try of his own. Converting both scores, Roberts put his side 12-0 up.

After the blistering start, London were soon level with Lewis King and Scott Trigg-Turner crossing the line for the Roosters. Joe Coyd tied the scores with two successful kicks.

Setting the platform from deep within their own half, Wigan charged up court before a quick play the ball from Phil Roberts allowed his son Dec to evade the would be tacklers close to line and touch down.

With numerous players from England’s Would Cup winning squad involved for both teams, the game was always going to be close. Coyd registered his first after 21 minutes when he found a gap in the Wigan defence. Again, he tied the scores from the kicking tee.

Next up was something special, Heggie received the ball midway inside his own half and looked to be tackled around the halfway line. However, not wanting to surrender, he used his excellent chair skills to get away from the players trying to take his tag before turning the remaining defenders inside out with his pace and agility. Adding the extras, Roberts made it a 6 point ball game.

Breaking the scoring pattern, Wigan scored back to back tries for the first time since the opening 5 minutes. Attacking a fractured defensive line, a looping pass from Dec Roberts gifted Phil Roberts with time and space. Expecting a pass out wide, the defence then left a gap for Phil to roll in for an easy try.

With a 12 point lead, Roberts slotted over a penalty to increase that to 14, but this was soon narrowed when Coyd scored his second. Carrying the ball across court, looking for a player making an inside run, Coyd was able to reach through the smallest of gaps and place the ball down.

Finishing the half stronger, one last try from the Warriors saw Adam Rigby crash over in the left corner, but with Roberts missing the conversion, the half time score would remain 36-24 to the Cherry & Whites.

An enthralling first 40 minutes had really set up a frantic finale, with both teams eager to get the win and progress to the Grand Final. It was the Roosters who made a break down the right flank to record the first try of the second half, Trigg-Turner the scorer, but Coyd missing the kick.

Having already bagged a brace, Heggie went one better by adding his third try of the game. Taking the ball to the line, Roberts delayed the pass before putting Heggie through the gap. Recalibrating his sights after the previous miss, Roberts put the ball between the uprights to make it 42-28 with 50 minutes played.

As we entered the final quarter, London had to throw everything they had at their opponents. On the back of some ball carries back into the ruck, a wraparound play saw Jason Owen beat the defence and score. Another success from the tee reduced the gap, but the Roosters still needed to score twice to regain the lead.

Keeping the scoreboard ticking over, plus regaining possession, Roberts was able to drop a goal from right in front to make it 43-34 with 14 minutes to go. From here on in, it was all about game management for the Warriors.

Despite calls from the sideline to control possession, Wigan turned over the ball on several occasions in the final few minutes, but their defence held firm. Whether it was forcing the pass, or putting in a kick behind the defensive line, London were trying everything they could think of, but it wasn’t enough.

As the final whistle blew, Wigan had secured their place in the Grand Final, meaning both Wheelchair teams will be in action next Sunday at the National Basketball Centre in Manchester.

Speaking after the game, Head Coach, Chris Greenhalgh, said: “I’m immensely proud of the players, both today and last week, as to have a team in each Grand Final is an unbelievable achievement.”

London Roosters: Scott Trigg-Turner, Lewis King, Joe Coyd, Jason Owen, Freya Levy.

Interchanges: Arun Baines, Amrik Baines, Jack Linden, Steve Murphy.

Tries: King, Trigg-Turner (2), Coyd (2), Owen

Goals: Coyd 5/6

Wigan Warriors: Jack Heggie, Dec Roberts, Adam Rigby, Phil Roberts, Matt Wooloff.

Interchanges: Chris Greenhalgh

Tries: Heggie (3), D. Roberts (2), P. Roberts, Rigby

Goals: D. Roberts 7/8

Drop Goals: D. Roberts 1/1

Monday 09 October 2023