Senior and Junior Academies make Grand Finals

Congratulations to the Wigans Senior and Junior Academy sides who both recorded home wins over the weekend and have made their respective Grand Finals.

The 21's overcame Bradford 32-26 at Orrell on Saturday and will now face Hull FC in the Grand Final at the KC Stadium this Sunday 2nd October with a 2pm kick off, admission is £2 Adult and £1 Concession

Meanwhile, the 18's overcame Widnes 24-12. Who they will face in the Final will be determined next weekend as Leeds host Widnes in a Final Eliminator.

Senior Academy Championship – Final Eliminator Wigan Warriors 32 T: Ashton 4, Kavanagh, O’Carroll G: Ballard 4

Bradford Bulls 26 T: Saxton 2, Pryce (K.) 2, Ferres G: Ferres 3

H.T. 10-16

Wigan: Chris Ashton; Andrew Ballard, Sean Gleeson,Liam Colbon, Desi Williams; James Coyle, Steven Roper;Lee Jewitt, Bob Beswick, Simon Bissell, Ben Kavanagh,Joel Tomkins, Danny Speakman.

Subs. Eamon O’Carroll,Martin Kenyon, Mike McIlorum, Thomas Coyle.

Bradford: Nicky Saxton; Ryan Atkins, Richard Johnson,Karl Pryce, David Haley; Mark Flanagan, Matt Brooks;Tony Tonks, Richard Dobson, Matt James, Ben Feehan,Anthony Szostak, Brett Ferres.

Subs. Andy Smith,Richie Hawkyard, Justin Hunter, Tom Andrews.

An early Wigan blitz which brought them ten points within even time, possibly caused them to switch offagainst the Bulls, who, inspired by centre Karl Pryce,responded with energy and determination to take a sixpoint lead by the interval, leaving the Warriors wondering quite what had hit them.

It was the precursor to a tremendous second half, both sides playing some inventive and strong football, with the result in the most serious doubt until well into the final quarter. Starring for Wigan was fullbackChris Ashton, scorer of four top class tries and showing immense sharpness and pace as well as safe hands and the ability to make the most of the half chance. Ben Kavanagh’s strength and the introduction of Eamon O’Carroll’s skills from the bench brought both a try apiece, though Wigan had good cause to be grateful for the accurate kicking of Andrew Ballard, who landed a quartet of goals to ensure his side kept getting six points when the opposition were getting four.

Brett Ferres, with a try and three goals, was always at the heart of the Bradford attack, with Nicky’s Foray’s from the back bringing him a couple of tries.Then there was Pryce, who not only collected a couple of touchdowns himself, but was always a huge menace in possession, and who came so close to dragging his side into the Grand Final – and a meeting with Hull FC – on his own.

Junior Academy Championship – Qualifying Semi Final

Wigan Warriors 24 T: Brocklehurst, Stanton, Thornley, Hatton, Gleeson G: Hatton 2

Widnes Vikings 12 T: Tungstead, Bloomfield G: Yates 2

H.T. 14-0

Wigan: Mark Brocklehurst, Nicky Stanton, Andrew Thornley, Ross Bradley, David Small, Dean Hatton, Steve Roper, Matt Astley, Mike McIlorum, Darryl Kay,Ben Kavanagh, Neil Holland, Lee Mossop.

Subs: Sam Tomkins, Thomas Coyle, Sean Gleeson, Luke Roden.

Widnes: Scott Yates, Neil Liu, Adam Bowman, Matt Strong, Keiron Barton, Adam Kelly, Mark Keaveny, Mike Morrison, Andy White, Danny Smith, Dane Donahue, AdamSidlow, Robert Draper.

Subs: Craig Tungstead, Dave Bloomfield, Ben Howard, Andy Marsh.

Wigan moved straight into the Grand Final with a solid display against a Widnes side who never gave in, but who may have just lacked the touch of big matchexperience that the Warriors had at their disposal.They used this to establish a solid fourteen points to nil lead in the first half that they continued to build on after the break. Mark Brocklehurst, Nicky Stanton, Andrew Thornley and Sean Gleeson all crossed for the home side, along with stand-off Dean Hatton,who also slotted a pair of goals.

The Vikings fought back in the second period, with two tries from the replacements bench, in the form of Craig Tungstead and Dave Bloomfield, with full-back Scott Yates tagging on the extras for both. In the end however, Wigan had too much for their visitors, and deservedly take their place in the Junior Academy Championship Grand Final. The Vikings will have another chance to join them though, as they will host the Leeds Rhinos in the Final Eliminator.

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