Wigan Warriors 4
T - Charnley
G - Richards 0/1
Castleford Tigers 18
T - Dixon, Millington, Clare
G - Dixon 3/5
A tired and depleted Wigan were defeated for the second time in five days as Castleford Tigers ran out 4-18 winners at the DW Stadium on Friday night.
The game played in the first half in driving rain saw the Tigers go in 0-12 at the break thanks to tries from Dixon and Millington. The lead was extended nine minutes after the break to 0-16 as Clare grabbed the visitors third try and it took nearly an hour before Wigan were able to get on the scoreboard through a Charnley touchdown.
Castleford showed great determination from the off and a full strength side just had too much for a Wigan side missing several key players.
Wigan remain top of the Super League table but their advantage is reduced to a single point following Huddersfields defeat of Catalan.
Wigan gave a debut off the bench to former Wales Rugby Union Forward Andy Powell who signed for the Warriors back in April after completing his contract with Sale Sharks. Returning to the Wigan side after injury were Blake Green, Michael McIlorum and Gil Dudson. Sam Tomkins and Lee Mossop were the latest to miss out through injury. The Tigers made one change to the side that beat Hull last time out with Keith Mason on the bench replacing Ben Davies
Castleford thought they had opened the scoring on 9 minutes, a Chase kick through on the greasy surface, Weller Hauraki close to diving on the loose ball as the visitors looked to threaten in the early stages of the game. The Tigers forcing a couple of goal line drop outs in quick succession as the home defence was tested.
On 20 minutes it was the visitors that took the lead a high kick to the young Warriors full back Lewis Tierney was spilled under pressure and Kirk Dixon was on hand to dive on the ball for the try. Dixon himself added the extras, 0-6.
Straight away at the other end Wigan then forced two goal drop outs themselves and the Warriors seemed certain to score when Sam Powell spotted Pat Richards in a huge amount of space on the wide left, Richards only had to gather the ball to dive over the line but the conditions were against him as he lost possession and the opportunity was wasted.
On 27 minutes Andy Powell was introduced for his Rugby League debut to a great reception from the home fans, the big forward showing great determination right from the off with a couple of early drives.
A Richards knock on followed by a Castleford penalty as Wigan looked to have tackled the Tigers winger into touch allowed Daryl Powell’s men field position to test Wigan again, this time solid home defence kept them at bay.
Another Wigan knock on set up Castleford again with 5 minutes of the half remaining, this time a further penalty followed and Kirk Dixon opted for the 2 penalty points which he struck over from 20 metres out to make it 0-8.
This was followed on 37 minutes by the Tigers second try, straight from the kick off, a break down the right involving Richard Owen, Jordan Tansey and in the end Grant Millington was on hand to dive over in the right hand corner. This time Dixon missed a difficult conversion but the Tigers were 0-12 to the good at the interval.
Seven minutes into the second half Dom Crosby replaced Andy Powell. Soon after Castleford were awarded a penalty for Wigan holding in the tackle, from the left hand side 20 metres out Kirk Dixon missed with a great chance to extend the Tigers lead.
On 49 minutes the Tigers worked a great try down the left with clever passing to open the Warriors up and it was Winger James Clare who was on hand to slide over for the try in the corner to the delight of the travelling Cas fans in the East Stand, Dixon missed the conversion but the visitors were 0-16 in the lead.
Wigan were at last on the score sheet on 57 minutes, this time Castleford penalised for a high tackle on Blake Green. The Warriors took the quick tap and spread the ball out to the right where Josh Charnley was on hand to sneak over in the corner for his 27th try of the season. Pat Richards missed a tough goal from out wide, 4-16.
The try lifted everyone, Wigan players and fans, soon after Anthony Gelling held just short of the line as he looked to force his way over on the final tackle.
Andy Powell returned for a second stint with 11 minutes left, Wigan tried to threaten but this was not to be the Warriors night.
As the hooter sounded Castleford were awarded a further penalty which Dixon converted and it ended 4-18.
Wigan Warriors - Lewis Tierney, Josh Charnley, Darrell Goulding, Anthony Gelling, Pat Richards, Sam Powell, Matty Smith, Gil Dudson, Michael McIlorum, Dom Crosby, Harrison Hansen, Liam Farrell, Greg Burke
Replacements - Jack Hughes, Blake Green, Chris Tuson, Andy Powell
Castleford Tigers - Jordan Tansey, Richard Owen, Michael Shenton, Kirk Dixon, James Clare, Weller Hauraki, Rangi Chase, Ryan Boyle, Adam Milner, Craig Huby, Oliver Holmes, Grant Millington, Nathan Massey
Replacements - Jonathan Walker, Daryl Clark, Jordan Thompson, Keith Mason
Referee - P Bentham