A bumper crowd turned out to watch the inaugural annual Ronnie Dutch Memorial Trophy cross-code game between Wigan RU and St Pats.
Wigan edged last Saturday’s contest 20-19 but the real winner was rugby itself as players, officials and fans paid tribute to a man who left such a mark on both clubs, and money was raised for Macmillan Nurses and the Three Wishes charity.
Former Super league referee Karl Kirkpatrick got the game underway as both sides played the league code in the first half.
St Pats opened the scoring as a cross field kick on the last tackle was misfielded by the Wigan fullback, allowing Anthony Atherton to touchdown to make it 4-0.
Wigan edged ahead when Connor Matthews kicked into space and Mikey Bristow was first to the loose ball. A neat bit of football took the ball over the line and Wigan had their first score. Adam Dwyer added the conversion. 6-4
The seesawing nature continued as St Pats’ Conor Taylor punished some sloppy defending to fight his way over the line. And just before half-time Atherton shunned a kick on the last tackle and took the ball wide to send the winger over and make it 14-6.
The sides came out for the second half this time playing the union code. Another cross field kick opened the scoring as Bristow went over for his second of the game. Dwyer added the conversion to cut the margin to one point.
Wigan began to dominate possession and they made full use of it. Matthews made the break that put Aseri Biutanaseva in in the corner, Dwyer’s conversion putting them 20-14 ahead.
St Pats changed their style and it paid dividends. With just second remaining on the clock, Atherton went blind off a scrum and sent Joe Prior for the try. With the kick narrowly missing the posts the score remained 20-19 to Wigan. The clubs are committed to making the match in memory of Dutch – who died earlier this year – an annual event.