Wakefield Trinity Wildcats Under 19′s came up just short against Wigan Warriors in an evenly matched contest.
Trinity were the wrong side of a 24-18 scoreline but credit must not be taken away from the home side who were extremely close to taking the spoils.
Wakefield’s effort was rewarded with scores from Scott Lee, Jack Teanby and Max Jowitt but the visitors managed to outscore the Wildcats with tries from Oliver Gildart (2), Liam Forsyth (2) and Jamie Doran.
With the effort, commitment, energy and pride all there to see from the Wildcats, they probably deserved at least a draw out of the game. But all that said, nothing should be taken away from the resilience shown by the visitors.
Both sides came out of the blocks in an attacking manner and unsurprisingly it only took 58 seconds for the first score. A smart right-to-left shift from the Warriors saw Gildart presented with an opportunity that he took with both hands by fooling Jowitt with an audacious dummy to get Wigan off the mark.
However, the home side responded in the right way and nudged ahead on five minutes when Josh Kittrick popped the ball inside to Nathan Stone who broke the line before handing over to Lee who was in the right place at the right time to cross for Trinity. Jowitt converted.
At this stage, both sides seemed to have settled down and the forwards were toughing it out down the middle. Wakefield’s props were laying the platform with ball in hand and a quick play the ball gave Kittrick room to attempt a 40/20, only to be denied by a spirited chase from Wigan’s Gabriel Fell who somehow managed to stop the ball crossing the whitewash. Although Wigan prevented the 40/20, they couldn’t respect the ball and the referee signalled for obstruction much to the delight of the home side.
From the corresponding set, Kittrick demanded the ball and floated a defence splitting pass to Teanby who was too strong for any Wigan defender to stop the prop grounding the ball. Jowitt made it two out of two with the boot.
As stated earlier, it was Wigan’s resilience which saw them through and that was the case for the remainder of the first half. Having weathered more Wakefield pressure, they went down the other end and scored two nicely worked tries before the half-time break. The first coming through Gildart again who had taken advantage of the lack of defenders on the Wildcats right edge to dot down. Then back to back penalties allowed Wigan to score another try, again down Wakefield’s right edge, through Forsyth. Nick Gregson convereted one of the two.
HALF TIME: Wakefield 12-14 Wigan
Stu Dickens’ young Wildcats came out for the second half knowing they had a massive chance to claim their first home win of the 2014 campaign. However, the task was made harder when Forsyth grabbed his brace just two minutes into the half. Trinity again found themselves one man down on the right edge and Forsyth’s eyes lit up when he was handed a walk in try. Gregson sailed the conversion through the posts to give the Warriors an eight point lead.
The message got on to the Wakefield half-back’s Alex Parker and Kittrick to start taking control if the home side had any chance of taking the two points and take control they did as the game was played in the Warriors own half for a large period of time.
With the pressure mounting, Wigan were hanging on and prevented Brandon Conway from getting to the try line after breaking away from two would be tacklers on 65 minutes.
Wakefield had to score pretty soon as frustration started to creep in. However, Parker kept his cool and fired a delightful pass out to Jowitt who threw the dummy to score the try which he also converted to narrow the deficit to just two points with ten minutes remaining.
The Wildcats tails were well and truly up and instead of sticking to the game plan which had worked for large periods of the game, the home side went into panic mode. Jowitt tried to pull off a chip and regather but when that failed to come off the Warriors had the ball and also had Wakefield where they wanted them, deep in their own half!
On 75 minutes, Trinity were a little too eager to regain possession and when they raced out of the line, smart footwork from the impressive Doran left Wakefield with their heads in their hands as he crossed in the corner to make the difference six points. If Gregson would have converted, Wakefield needed to score two tries in four minutes to win. Instead, he missed and created a nervy finish for the visitors. Fortunately for them, they managed to hang on and claim a hard fought 24-18 win.
Wakefield left the field to large applauds from the supporters who acknowledged the much improved performance from last weeks heavy defeat to London.
WILDCATS: Jowitt, Conway, Holt, Lee, Johnstone, Parker, Kittrick, Teanby, Maskill, Kilday, Stone, Walton, Crowther. Interchanges: Cornell, Powell, Morris, Douglas.
WARRIORS: Fell, Marshall, Gildart, Calland, Thompson, Doran, Shorrocks, Austin, Waterworth, Sherratt, Davies, Gregson, Shelford: Interchanges: Hill, Forsyth, Houghton, Rush.
Report by Connor Grace.