TALKING SPORT - A magnificent achievement

OUR esteemed sports editor usually needs no encouraging to wax lyrical on how great a sporting town Wigan is.

One thing’s for sure, covering sport on this patch certainly doesn’t leave us scratching around for stories.

But this year’s achievements will surely never be matched.

As expected, the Warriors booked their place at Wembley with a convincing victory over London Broncos at the Leigh Sports Village.

With Latics preparing to make their third trip to the nationsl stadium in the space of just over three months, it’s hard to argue that our humble town in the sporting epicentre of the country right now.

To go to Wembley four times across two sports is impressive – even if one of those trips was a semi-final.

The support at both Latics’ games so far has been fantastic and, given the Warriors’ love affair with the Challenge Cup, I’m sure the Cherry and Whites will be just as well supported when they face Hull FC on August 24.

We should be very proud of our two major clubs – whether you’re blue, red, neither or both.

One last push now against Hull – in a repeat of the most famous Challenge Cup final of all, back in 1985 – and 2013 really will be Wigan’s golden year of sport.

I can’t imagine too many neutrals managed to get beyond the half-hour mark of Saturday’s Challenge Cup semi-final.

For all the faults of London though - and there were many - the Warriors were simply sensational.

Everything about that performance was top notch.

Obviously, they had infinitely more talent in their squad than London but when you know that, it can sometimes hinder the way you prepare and approach the game.

For Wigan though, they played out their skins for 80 minutes and, forgive the cliche, like it was 0-0 at every set.

They made the Broncos look more like ponies.

It’s the club’s 30th Challenge Cup final and yet another appearance at Wembley, the place that became a second home to the club in the late 80s and early 90s.

Does the game make you worry about the state of Super League?


There should not be such a gap between two top flight sides in a semi-final, no matter what the sport.

Saying that, I’m sure Wigan fans wouldn’t swap their Wembley chants on 20 minutes for the nail-biting climax at the John Smiths Stadium little more than 24 hours later in the second semi-final.

Regardless of how, we’re there again – let’s enjoy it.

IT may seem only two minutes since the end of last season, but Wigan Athletic kick-off their quest for promotion at Barnsley this Saturday.

Much has happened in the last few weeks – not least the departure of Roberto Martinez and the arrival of Owen Coyle – but the feel-good factor surrounding the club, despite relegation, remains.

Latics will be in the strange position of being favourites for most of the games they play this term.

But if they can manage the added pressure of expectation, I’m confident they can bounce back to the Premier League at the first attempt.