Hull KR: Craig Hall, Jason Chan, Ben Cockayne. Goals: Travis Burns: 1/3.
Wigan Warriors: Dan Sarginson, Sean O’Loughlin, Josh Charnley. Goals: Matty Smith: 1/3.
Josh Charnley scored at the death to deny a dogged Hull KR side what would have been a vital victory on Thursday night. Rovers fell behind early to a Dan Sarginson try, but Craig Hall and Jason Chan replied for KR to establish a 10-4 lead at the break.
Chan made a 70 metre run to set up Ben Cockayne for a score before the Robins held off a number of attacks until Sean O’Loughlin went over in the 73rd minute. Then, Charnley’s last-gasp effort stole a draw in dramatic circumstances.
The game saw Rovers play some of their best rugby of the season and left temporary Rovers boss Chris Chester with a record of three defeats, two wins and a draw since taking over.
Meanwhile, the Super League champions were not at their best for long spells and deservedly missed the chance to go top thanks to another dropped point on Yorkshire soil, having suffered a shock defeat at relegated Bradford in their last trip over the Pennines.
Wigan began the game in dominant fashion when Dan Sarginson collected a swooping pass to squeeze over on the left just two minutes in. Smith missed his conversion attempt but the early try provided Wigan with some sustained momentum.
Bu, the home side stood firm and eventually levelled the scores on the 20 minute mark. It was Craig Hall who bagged the try, doing well to latch on to a dangerous Kris Keating kick, but Travis Burns couldn’t improve.
Then, in the last attack of the opening 40, they barged their way ahead when Jason Chan shrugged his way through the visiting defence to crash over. Burns added the extras to take the scores to 10-4 at the break.
On the hour mark, Chan picked up a loose ball and almost ran the length of the field, but was felled as he looked for the line. Rovers were not to be denied, though, and Ben Cockayne capitalised, sliding in after a terrific pass from Greg Eden to give Rovers a 10 point lead after Burns missed a difficult conversion attempt.
The Warriors finally stepped up a gear as the game drew to a close, but the hosts defended manfully as Wigan threw everything at the line. The visitors finally broke through on 73 minutes when Blake Green put skipper O’Loughlin over near the posts. Matty Smith converted to bring the scores to 14-10 and set up a gripping finish.
KR looked to have sealed a famous win despite the Warriors dominating possession in the final few minutes. That was until the last 30 seconds when Wigan won a penalty deep inside Rovers territory, giving the Lancashire side vital field position and they eventually worked the ball wide to Anthony Gelling who bounced his way through a gap, before handing the ball on to Josh Charnley who crashed over to level the scores.
Smith could have stolen a win with the last kick of a pulsating encounter but, in front of a vociferous home crowd, he pushed his conversion attempt just wide.
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