Wigan Warriors booked their place in the last four of the Carnegie Challenge Cup with a 28-6 win over Salford City Reds at the JJB Stadium on Friday night.
It was a typical tough Cup battle but Wigan took advantage of their opportunities to book their semi-final spot.
The Reds haven’t won at Wigan since 1997 and it rarely looked as if they were in a position to end the 10 game run of defeats. The Warriors defended stoutly and forced their opponents into errors.
Wigan last made the semi-final in 2007 and will be hoping this time they can make it all the way through to the showpiece event in August at Wembley.
A hat-trick of tries from Pat Richards and a brace from Gareth Hock was in contrast to a single Reds try from Luke Adamson.
Wigan made two changes from the side that lost at Warrington last Friday. With Stuart Fielden serving a one game suspension and Shaun Ainscough not included the Warriors had both George Carmont and Phil Bailey returning after injury. The Reds had Stuart Littler starting in his 150th consecutive appearance for Darrell Goulding who was cup tied after appearing for the Warriors in Round 4 at Barrow. The centre on loan at the moment at the Willows.
Wigan took the lead with their first real attack, a short pass from Riddell sent Gareth Hock through a gap and the second rower crashed over with just two minutes on the clock. Richards added a simple goal from under the posts to give the Warriors an early 6-0 advantage.
Salford responded with a well worked try on 11 minutes, Myler starting the move, it ended with a Luke Adamson touch down from an inside pass. John Wilshere struck the extras , 6-6.
On 25 minutes Wigan regained the lead, Leuluai and Carmont combining to send in Pat Richards at the left hand corner as the Reds ran out of defensive bodies. This time the winger missed a difficult conversion, 10-6.
Wigan had chances to put some more pressure on the visitors but on two occasions in good positions the ball was knocked on by the cherry and whites in attack. The half ended with no further scores.
The Reds almost got off to the perfect start to the second half, Ratchford with a kick ahead and then he carried the move on with a further kick only for Phelps to eventually clear the danger for a goal line drop out.
Wigan were awarded a penalty for a high tackle on 50 minutes underneath the posts and Richards added the penalty to make it 12-6.
The Warriors scored a crucial try on 52 minutes, quick hands from right to left and Richards was in again for his second try in the corner to put the home side in the box seat. Richards missed the conversion but Wigan led 16-6.
Richards crossed for his hat-trick on 70 minutes as again Salford looked exposed as Wigan spread the ball across the park. The winger hit the goal and as a contest it was game over, 22-6.
Hock added his second try on 78 minutes as Salford knew their cup run was at an end. Richards goal made it 28-6 and that’s how it ended. A thoroughly deserved win by the cherry and whites.
Sam Tomkins was awarded the Carnegie Man of the Match but both Richards and Hock were impressive.
Cameron Phelps, Amos Roberts, Martin Gleeson, George Carmont, Pat Richards, Sam Tomkins, Thomas Leuluai, Andy Coley, Mark Riddell, Paul Prescott, Gareth Hock, Phil Bailey, Sean O'Loughlin
Subs: Iafeta Paleaaesina, Joel Tomkins, Harrison Hansen, Michael McIlorum
Salford City Reds
John Wilshere, Stuart Littler, Jordan Turner, Willie Talau, Mark Henry, Stefan Ratchford, Richard Myler, Ray Cashmere, Malcolm Alker, Craig Stapleton, Luke Adamson, Rob Parker, Luke Swain
Subs: Ian Sibbit, Lee Jewitt, Phil Leuluai, Robbie Paul
Referee - Thierry Alibert
Attendance - 9,466
Carnegie Challenge Cup Man of the Match - Sam Tomkins.