Wigan Warriors overcame a spirited 12-man Hull Kingston Rovers side to advance to the Quarter Finals of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
A tight first half saw Wigan take a narrow lead into the second forty minutes, but from then on the visitors dominated proceedings at KCOM Craven Park.
Josh Woods opened the scoring, and the effervescent Liam Marshall crossed the whitewash as the Warriors re-took the lead after an impressive try from Chris Atkin put the hosts right back in the tie.
Despite Taioalo Vaivai also scoring, the East-Yorkshire club’s 12 men were unable to match Wigan’s fitness. This was highlighted when Tom Davies crossed over in the closing moments after scores from Sam Tomkins and Tony Clubb effectively made the game safe.
The major turning point of the match came when Danny Tickle saw red for punching John Bateman, who was sin-binned for his part in the flare-up. 35-year-old Tickle looked stunned when referee Chris Kendall gave him his marching orders.
Even when down to 12 men, the hosts gave an excellent performance, belying their lowly position in Super League.
Nervy Wigan were still only 18-10 ahead with just seven minutes to play before a late flourish as Rovers tired, which added some gloss to the scoreline as they reached the last eight of the competition.
Wigan will now face Warrington Wolves in the Quarter-Finals of the prestigious competition in early June, whereas KR will be solely focusing on climbing the Betfred Super League table.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Hull KR show resilience
After being reduced to 12 men against a formidable Wigan side, many teams would have rolled over and accepted defeat, but not KR. They battled to the end, giving everything they had until the final whistle, and should be proud of their efforts. If they can reproduce that same level of grit and determination on a regular basis, they could turn their season around.
Game management key for Warriors
Once Tickle was dismissed, Wigan were expected to run away with the contest and make their extra man count. It wasn’t that simple, but they stuck to the game plan and avoided giving KR a chance to claw their way back into the tie. Mental strength and game management are perhaps two of the most important qualities for any successful side to possess, and Wigan have both in abundance.
Man Of The Match – Sam Tomkins
With one try and four successful conversions to his name, Tomkins’ points were ultimately the difference between the two sides. The full-back’s understanding of the game and ability to spot scoring opportunities was crucial as the Lancashire-based outfit battled past their hosts at KCOM Craven Park. Wigan fans will be hoping to see many more of these performances from the England star.
Hull Kingston Rovers 10
Tries: Atkin, Vaivai
Drop Goals: n/a
Wigan Warriors 28
Tries: Woods, Marshall, Tomkins, Clubb, Davies
Goals: Tomkins (4)
Drop Goals: n/a
Hull Kinston Rovers: Adam Quinlan, Ryan Shaw, Liam Salter, Taioalo Vaivai, Elliot Wallis, Tommy Lee, Maurice Blair, Rob Mulhern, Chris Atkin, Joshua Johnson, Danny Tickle, James Greenwood, Joe Cator,
Subs: Mose Masoe, James Donaldson, Matthew Marsh, Jordan Walne
Wigan Warriors: Sam Tomkins, Tom Davies, Dan Sarginson, Oliver Gildart, Liam Marshall, Josh Woods, Sam Powell, Tony Clubb, Thomas Leuluai, Ben Flower, John Bateman, Liam Farrell, Sean O’Loughlin
Subs: Joel Tomkins, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, Willie Isa
Referee: C. Kendal