Wigan U20’s secured their fourth successive victory, with an impressive 54-4 win over their Castleford counterparts.
Doubles from John O’Donnell, Jack Hughes, Ryan King and Greg Burke helped to earn a well-deserved win in a match they dominated from the first whistle.
Wigan opened the scoring almost instantly after Greg Burke was able to cross the line unopposed after an Anthony Gelling blind-side scoot. Jack Murphy couldn’t kick the conversion from out-wide so the Warriors held a four point lead after as many minutes.
Gelling came close to making another assist just five minutes later but he could only find Castleford’s Casey Canterbury despite their being an abundance of Wigan players in support.
It looked like Castleford were going to claw one back, but Wigan’s brick-like defence stood strong.
Instead Irish international, John O’Donnell used his agility and pace to weave in and out of Tigers defenders before running 30 metres to touch-down under the posts. Jack Murphy took advantage of the easy conversion position to make the score 10-0.
Just two minutes later, on form O’Donnell scored an almost replica of his first by once again splitting the Castleford defence into two with a magical sidestep. However Murphy was unable to duplicate the last scoring pattern, with his goal sailing narrowly wide albeit from a much harder angle.
Heroic Wigan defence managed to hold-up a Chris Siddons drive and halt a Castleford comeback, but their sliding defence was no match for the Tigers’ well-structured attack as Dan Holmes crossed the line just two tackles later. Ben Reynolds missed a touchline conversion which could have made the half-time score 14-6 but the try had reminded Wigan that the game was nowhere near over.
Barely a minute of the second-half had passed before Wigan opened the scoring in the form of Jack Hughes, who powered through the Castleford defence before making a 25 metre dash to the line. Jack Murphy’s second successful goal of the afternoon increased Wigan’s lead to 20-4.
The young Warriors now held total control with winger, Ryan King being the next to add his name to the score-sheet after the ball was shipped through three pairs of hands to reach his side. Jack Murphy was again unable to convert from the touchline so the score remained 24-4.
Scott Leatherbarrow’s excellent support-play paid off dividends when James Greenwood supplied him with the ball after a two-on-one with Ben Blackmore. He strolled the remaining ten metres unopposed and then allowed Jack Murphy to kick his 60th goal of the season to make the score 30-4 with little over ten minutes remaining.
From the restart, the cracks in Castleford’s defence were beginning to show with Jack Hughes able to break through before running over half of the field on his path to the line. Murphy kicked the goal from a simple angle, and at 36-4, there was no way the Warriors could lose grip of the game.
Murphy was next to score, after dancing over the line from short range but he was unable to turn his four-pointer into six.
Castleford players clearly had their head buried in their handswhen Anthony Gelling took the ball on the right-flank and used his pace to rip the flimsy Tigers defence apart to score.From another difficult position, Murphy missed the goal resulting in a 44-4 score.
The final five minutes dragged for the Tigers as both Ryan King and Greg Burke grabbed their second tries of the afternoon. Jack Murphy could only convert one, but no doubt he would be happy with a 54-4 win.
Wigan: Murphy, Russell, Gelling, O’Donnell, King,Leatherbarrow, Powell,Greenwood, L Tomkins, Spencer,Burke,Hughes, Harrison.
Replacements: Lyon-Fraser, Johnson, Davies, Cunningham.
T: O’Donnell 2, Hughes 2, Burke 2, King 2, Leatherbarrow,Gelling Murphy
G: Murphy 5/11
Castleford: Blackmore, Gill, D Holmes, Atkinson, Lepori, Clarke, Reynolds, Smith, Lee, Leart, Lloyd, Hammond, Siddons.
Replacements: Canterbury, Thompson, Lunn, B Holmes.
G: Reynolds 0/1
Referee: Paul Marklove
Man of the Match: Scott Leatherbarrow
Report by Nathan Lawrenson