Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 54, Harlequins RL 12
The Wildcats finally got back on the horse and posted their first win in seven outings. And what a boost to the club and it’s fans it proved to be!
The nine-try feast took the Wildcats back into the top eight of the Engage Super League and did their points difference no harm at all.
The Hearwell Stadium was bathed in sunshine and the Wildcat style of rugby matched the sunny mood. It was if Wakefield were taking out their frustrations of the last few weeks on the Quins!
And in the Wildcats’ own private league competition with the Harlequins this year, it’s now 2-1 to Wakefield with a massive points’ difference in their favour. Don’t forget Wakefield won 18-10 at Twickenham Stoop in the first league game of the year and Quins out us out of the Carnegie Challenge Cup in the fourth round 26-18.
There was much to admire as John Kear’s team went about their business. Sam Obst (pictured) put on a great display to win the Man of the Match award while he was pushed very close by Paul Johnson playing out of the second row.
Paul King is growing in his role as one of Wakefield’s props while Paul Cooke clearly enjoyed his role as the side’s pivot scoring one try and kicking seven goals from ten attempts.
Jason Demetriou enjoyed his best display for the year while the whole pack of forwards defied the draining heat to barn-storm over their opponents.
Quins, having beaten Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium not that long ago, disappointed and they quite clearly missed one of their key players Chad Randall who pulled out prior to the match with hip injury. But the fact they remained in touch for so long can be laid at the door of their stand-off Luke Gale whose kicking from the hands was exemplary.
While the pre-match anxiety in the Wildcat camp was understandable given six successive defeats once the game had been in progress for about 20 minutes Wakefield looked the likely winners.
And, by the time Wakefield had posted 30 points they were going to be the winners.
Ironically, the two tries Wakefield did concede were both soft efforts and were probably the only their two only serious defensive lapses of the whole afternoon.
The whole Wildcat effort was typified by Obst who got back to take out a Quins attack with nothing left between him and the Wakefield try line. Sam just wasn’t going to be beaten and he caught winger Will Sharp not far into the Wakefield half.
It proved inspirational for his teammates and the Hearwell faithful.
Having said all that there was a real arm wrestle going on for the first 15 minutes as nervous Trinity played safety first rugby and the Quins fought to break down the home defence.
But once the deadlock was broken it was Wakefield who went through the confidence barrier.
The Wildcats led 18-6 at halftime thanks to tries by Luke George (14 minutes), Sean Gleeson (19 minutes) and Obst (27 minutes) while Cooke converted the lot.
A breakaway by Tony Clubb caught Wakefield flat-footed in the 31st minute and when Danny Orr belted over the conversion nerves were jangling slightly for Wakefield fans. But the team responded in great style.
Kevin Henderson set Trinity on a roll with a 44th minute close range try that was improved by Cooke and then Damien Blanch picked up a dropped ball to race 70- metres to score a try behind the posts in the 52nd minute. Cooke tacked on the goal points and that was really game, set and match for the Wildcats.
With confidence returning with every stride Wakefield added more tries from Jason Demetriou (58 minutes), another from Gleeson (65 minutes), Obst (68 minutes) and George (71 minutes) and a final touch-down by Paul Cooke (76 minutes) who added two more conversions to his tally.
Concentration clearly lapsed as the final hooter was sound and after a loose ball had bounced around wildly in the Wakefield defence, Gale picked up a try that was converted by Orr. For a few seconds it took the edge off the victory but the euphoria soon returned for the long suffering Wakey fans.
Wildcats: Murphy; Blanch, Gleeson, Demetriou, George: Cooke, Obst; Moore. Leo Latu, King, Johnson. Ferguson, Kirmond. Interchange (all used): Blaymire, Korkidas, Davey, Henderson.
Harlequins: Dorn; Sharp, Clubb, Howell, Penny; Gale, O’Callaghan; McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Orr, Temata, Williamson, Purdham, Melling Interchange: Wilkes. Mills, Esders ( all used) May (not used).
Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven)
Halftime: 18-6. Attendance: 4,371.