WARRIORS eased into the Challenge Cup quarter finals for the eighth year in a row with an expected win over Hunslet Hawks.
The victory was the club’s eighth in succession in all competitions, and was the second time in six days Wigan had broken the 50-point barrier with their 84-6 defeat of Bradford Bulls on Easter Monday.
But despite a blistering start, Hunslet did their reputation no harm by holding their opponents to just two second half scores.
George Williams, playing at hooker, opened the scoring after just three minutes and Wigan were 24-0 up before Hunslet had managed to get hold of the ball again since their opening set through scores from Matty Bowen, Matty Smith and Liam Farrell.
Hunslet sprung a surprise score in the 13th minute when Danny Grimshaw flew over for an interception try 20 metres away from the Wigan line.
Bowen added his second, and Wigan’s fifth, just after the quarter-hour mark but it was not a sign normal service had resumed as Hunslet’s Lee Mapals pounced on a grubber kick and scored to chants of ‘easy, easy’ from the away fans.
Smith brought the momentum back with Cup holders by scoring his second on 24 minutes and Bowen registered his hat-trick three minutes later - though Wigan didn’t manage to score again in the half.
Dan Sarginson finally ended a 19-minute run without a home score after the break with some fancy footwork, but mistakes started to creep into Wigan’s game which meant fans hoping to see the club score 100 points for only the third time in their history would be left disappointed.
Neither side scored for the next half hour until, with seven minutes to go, Jordan James ran on to a Smith pass from close range to finally help his side register 50 points.
The draw for the quarter final takes place tomorrow (Monday) evening at 6.30pm and will be broadcast on BBC News 24.
Read Phil Wilkinson’s full report and reaction in tomorrow’s (Monday) Evening Post.
Wigan Warriors: Matty Bowen; Dom Manfredi, Anthony Gelling, Dan Sarginson, Joe Burgess; Sam Powell, Matty Smith; Scott Taylor, George Williams, Jordan James, Liam Farrell, John Bateman; Jack Hughes
Replacements: Dom Crosby, Ryan Hampshire, Tony Clubb, Ryan Sutton
Hunslet Hawks: Stuart Kain; Lee Mapals, Jimmy Watson, Danny Maun, Lee Brickwood; Danny Grimshaw, Danny Ansell; James Houston, Liam Hood, Luke Stenchion, Brooke Broughton, John Oakes; David March
Replacements: Matthew Tebb, Lewis Reed, Aaron Lyons, Liam Mackay
Tries: Bowen 3, Smith 2, Williams, Farrell, Sarginson, James
Goals: Smith 8
Tries: Grimshaw, Mapals