Hull 16 Warriors 30

All hands to the pumps as Wigan battle Hull at the KC Stadium
All hands to the pumps as Wigan battle Hull at the KC Stadium
Share this article

THREE tries in the space of six minutes just before the interval helped Wigan open up a lead they never relinquished to extend their advantage at the top of Super League to three points.

The home side were giving as good as they got inside the opening half-hour, the score tied at 6-6 after Kirk Yeaman and Sam Tomkins had exchanged touchdowns.

However, three moments of madness from Hull in quick succession gifted their opponents 16 points that effectively handed the game to the Warriors, who warmed up nicely for next weekend’s Carnegie Challenge Cup semi-final with St Helens.

The home side came back into it after the break with a couple of tries in reply, but a scintillating 60-metre effort from man-of-the-match Sam Tomkins slammed the door in their faces.

Backed by a raucous home crowd, Hull came flying out of the blocks and only a great tackle by the Wigan full-back stopped Richard Horne in FC’s first attack.

The respite was only temporary, however, as great hands left allowed Yeaman to crash over in the far left-hand corner, with only two minutes gone.

A superb touchline goal by former Warrior Danny Tickle extended the advantage to 6-0, and it was nearly worse for Wigan, but for a fabulous last-gasp tackle by Jeff Lima, which prevented Horne from crossing shortly after.

At the other end Yeaman did similarly well to keep in-form Josh Charnley from notching Wigan’s opening try, and it took a moment of magic from Brett Finch to break through the black-and-white line on 13 minutes.

The Australian half-back took the ball to the line before toe-poking the ball behind the defence, allowing Sam Tomkins to gather and score a try awarded by video referee Steve Ganson.

Pat Richards added the extras to level the scores, but the Man of Steel turned villain moments later when Finch created a walk-in score with a lovely bit of footwork, only for Richards to drop the ball with the line gaping.

There was more uncharacteristic sloppiness from the Warriors when a poor missed tackle by Lima saw Sam Obst touch down by the posts, only for the try to be fortunately disallowed by Ganson for an obstruction on Ryan Hoffman by Epalahame Lauaki.

Charnley was then unlucky to put a foot in touch in trying to race on to a clever kick by Sean O’Loughlin, before the Warriors fans got their first glimpse of new signing Ben Cross off the bench.

At 6-6 the game was every bit as tight as Michael Maguire had predicted it would be – before three tries in the space of six minutes stamped the visitors’ authority on proceedings.

And the agonising thing aspect from Hull’s point of view was that they were all self-inflicted blows.

First a long ball from Tickle was intercepted inside his own 10-metre area by Richards, who raced away from the chasing pack to score.

Then an awful effort in sweeping up on his own line from Cameron Phelps – another Wigan old boy – saw George Carmont collect Sam Tomkins’ kick and fall over the line.

And Hull really found themselves behind the 8-ball seven minutes before the interval when Jordan Turner threw a suicidal long pass inside his own 5-metre area, without looking to see where it was going, with Finch gratefully taking delivery and laying on a gift for Richards.

Two goals from Richards saw Wigan open up a 22-6 advantage without really playing anywhere near to their full capacity.

There was a slight worry for Wigan on 34 minutes when Sam Tomkins was forced off the field after a pretty robust challenge from Yeaman.

And the home side were allowed a peg-up back into the game inside the last minute of the first half when Wigan coughed up possession too easily, allowing Turner to score a try improved by Tickle to make it 10-22.

Wigan started the second period on the front foot thanks to Cross, who forced an unlikely drop-out when he collared Phelps and dragged him back over his own line, with a little help from his skipper O’Loughlin.

But Wigan were indebted to Joel Tomkins for getting back to run down speedster Tom Briscoe, who for a moment looked to have a free run towards the Wigan posts.

The roof was nearly blown off the KC Stadium on 48 minutes when Willie Manu barged his way through some ordinary tackling from Gareth Hock and Liam Farrell to reduce the arrears to just six points.

And the concern on the Wigan bench was shown with Sam Tomkins returning to the fold after a spell on the sidelines.

A penalty from Richards took Wigan 24-16 ahead, but Hull were asking all the questions as the game moved into the last 10 minutes.

Only incredible defence from Richards, Carmont and Mike McIlorum kept the Airlie Birds at bay when they had numbers out right – before the points were sealed by yet another moment of magic from Tomkins.

Again, Hull were the architects of their own downfall, though, coughing up cheap possession as they pressed for the Wigan line, with O’Loughlin falling on the ball to relieve the pressure.

And Tomkins took full advantage of some tired defence when he picked up the ball from dummy half and raced 60 metres to score right in front of the jubilant Warriors supporters.