Disappointment but no regrets for Wigan Rugby Union, insists proud skipper

Wigan did themselves proud on their first ever appearance at Twickenham on SundayWigan did themselves proud on their first ever appearance at Twickenham on Sunday
Wigan did themselves proud on their first ever appearance at Twickenham on Sunday
Wigan RUFC captain Harry Barker says his side could not have given any more and did the town proud in their Papa Johns Community Cup final defeat at Twickenham.

Barker’s side just ran out of steam in the south-west sunshine, conceding four tries in the final 12 minutes to lose 45-22 to Kent side Old Etlhamians.

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They are, however, trending in the right direction after losing in the semi-finals last year and Barker hopes next season will prove third time lucky.

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“We’re gutted,” said Barker. “But I said to the lads before the game, win or lose, if you go out there and give it everything and crawl off that pitch, we can hold our heads up high.

“It’s impossible enough getting here and what the lads have done is amazing. We’ve just fallen short in the end but everyone has given it their all and I can’t ask for more as a captain, it’s been am amazing experience.

“I’m just going to soak this all in and really enjoy it – hopefully we can go one better next year.”

Wigan trailed 19-0 early in the first half but fought back brilliantly to trail by just two points thanks to tries from Oliver Morgan and Jack Proffitt as well as seven points from the boot of Zack Barker.

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Wigan were still in the fight late into the game and had their moments but a flurry of tries from Old Etlhamians ensured the trophy would be staying down south, despite a late consolation for Jacob Dugdale.

“They probably just had a bit more in the tank than us, to be fair,” said Barker.

“A sin-bin 20 minutes into the second half was crucial, the tables turned a bit in their favour then.

“Credit to the boys, they stuck at it, they were amazing. We don’t go away and that’s why we’re here, we’re full of grit, determination and pride and we’re proud to represent Wigan.

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“We joke about it but we are a band of brothers and we love each other to bits. We’ve had an amazing season from an amazing set of lads.

“We’ve achieved way more than we ever imagined this season and we’re just looking to build on that next year now.”

A year-long celebration of community rugby, the Papa Johns Community Cup has enabled clubs to play different opposition and visit new places, while others reignited old local rivalries, all making plenty of memories along the way.

Finals weekend witnessed non-stop action across the country with more matches being held at Sixways Stadium, Shaftesbury Park and Darlington Mowden Park.

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“It’s been an amazing experience,” added Barker. “We got to the semi-final last year and hadn’t had a good season at all but it just really brought us together.

“It’s a brilliant experience to play at Twickenham, it’s what dreams are made of and I’ve loved every minute of it.”

For a round up of all the Papa Johns Community Cup Final action and to watch the games back follow @RFU on X or search for #PapaJohnsCommunityCup

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