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When the draw was made for the quarter final of the 2024 Challenge Cup, most supporters would have been willing for their side to be drawn out against a struggling Castleford Tigers side who have only picked up one league win so far this season, in the end that lucky side was the Wigan Warriors.

Many pundits, and the bookies, believed that this was as good as a bye for the Warriors and with them being handicapped by thirty points on the coupon, they were a ‘shoe in’ for the semi-finals and probably the side that the others would look to avoid one game out from Wembley.

The concept of a Tigers win was unthinkable for all except the Castleford coach Craig Lingard and his trusted seventeen players playing for the pride in their jersey.

The second real Wigan attack bore fruit as Liam Marshall went for a last tackle power play and broke the Tigers line to cross from fifteen metres out for the opening try of the game. Harry Smith had a touchline conversion opportunity but was wide with his kick.

Returning the kick-off, Brad O’Neill broke down the middle, found Adam Keighran who immediately gave the ball back to his hooker who motored home for the second try. Smith was on target this time for 10-0 with just six minutes on the clock. The signs were already ominous for the Tigers.

On ten minutes Bevan French stole the ball in a one-on-one tackle with Jack Broadbent to run in for a simple try from twenty metres. Smith added the extras for 16-0 with twelve minutes on the first half clock.

Marshall got his second on eighteen minutes after a sensational Jake Wardle run from his own twenty to the Tigers ten before passing inside to his supporting winger to go over. Smith added the conversion for 22-0, the visitors as good as in the semi-final with just a quarter of the game passed.

It was a walk in the park for Wigan against a dreadful Castleford. A break from Smith set up the fifth Wigan try, Keigran the beneficiary to walk in for a simple try against a non-existent defence. Smith added the conversion for 28-0.

Innes Senior went close for the home side on twenty-six and as they pushed the Wigan line for the first time, they allowed a pass to slip forwards to end the move.

After a long delay in play, Willie Isa was carried off the field on twenty-eight with a serious looking lower leg injury.

The Tigers broke their points duck on thirty-one minutes when a Jack Broadbent grubber grounded by Innes Senior as the Wigan defence temporarily nodded off. Danny Richardson converted off the cross bar and post for 6-28. The Tigers managed to keep Wigan scoreless after the Isa injury after their scorching opening.

Three minutes after the restart, Jai Field was the provider for Abbas Miski for a simple dart though a gap and score to get Wigan back into try scoring business. Smith could not add the conversion from wide.

Off a Junior Nsemba break and pass, Kruise Leeming made it two tries in two minutes for 36-6 as the Tigers defence fell apart again. Smith added the conversion and any small hopes that the Tigers might have had were extinguished.

Two more minutes had passed before Marshall completed his hat-trick, dragging three tacklers over the line to score. This time Smith couldn’t add the extras, but Wigan had a very healthy 42-6 lead. Marshall quickly added his fourth on fifty-seven minutes but again Smith was unable to add the conversion.

From the back of a scrum, Jake Wardle at first receiver saw the Tigers defence open up to bring up the fifty for the Warriors. Smith made it three misses from his last three attempts but at 50-6 it mattered for little.

A miss out pass from French saw Miski coast over for another simple try through a non-existent Tigers defence as the Wigan procession continued. Smith was again wide with his conversion attempt, six out of eleven missed on the day.

Wigan’s twelfth try came close to the end when Tyler Dupree collected a Smith grubber kick under the posts to dot down for his first try of the afternoon on seventy-eight minutes. Smith added the conversion to bring up the sixty points and a crushing Wigan victory.

Castleford were given no chance, an in reality they had less than no chance against a Wigan side who took a breather in the second half of the opening forty and who still won at a canter. The Castleford Tigers are in a real mess, out of the cup and languishing near the bottom of the Super League table. It’s Wigan into the semi-final hat on this showing who would bet against them being successful at Wembley.

Castleford Tigers: Broadbent, Hodson, Tasipale, Wood, Senior (T), Richardson (G), Miller, Johnson, Horne, Kibula, El-Zakhem, Mellor, Westerman.  Subs: Namo, Robb, Martin, Hindmarsh-Takyi. 18th Man: Hill.

Wigan Warriors: Field, Miski (2T), Keighran (T), Wardle (T), Marshall (4T), French (T), Smith (6G), Thompson, O’Neill (T), Dupree, Isa, Farrell, Ellis. Subs: Mago, Leeming (T), Hill, Nsemba. 18th Man: Eckersley. 

Half-Time: 6-28.

Full-Time: 6-60.

Score Progression: 0-4, 0-8, 0-10, 0-14, 0-16, 0-20, 0-22, 0-26, 0-28, 4-28, 6-28 : HT: 6-32, 6-34, 6-38, 6-42, 6-46, 6-50, 6-54. 6-58, 6-60  :FT.

Lead Exchanges: Wigan.

Referee: Liam Moore.

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 14th Apr 2024 4:52 PM | Views : 6825 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES