A Wigan Win for the Opening Game
Heavy rain prior to the game saw Fleetwood 3rds take the field for their first game of the season.
Report by Thomas Kenyon
Wigan kicked to the right from the kick off, Fleetwood caught the ball, but Wigan turned the ball over. After a few phases, Wigan shifted the ball left, and managed to score in the left corner. Wigan missed the conversion, so the Greens were down 0-5 early in the game. Wigan kept Fleetwood busy, however Fleetwood managed to turn the ball over and Howie kicked well to get Fleetwood out of pressure. Although the ball stayed in play, a great chase by Conner Rothery followed by crunching tackle managed to get the Wigan player into touch. Sadly, Fleetwood couldn’t make anything of this good position. After a few moments play, Fleetwood won a scrum on Wigan’s 22. Wigan turned the ball over, and a gap was found by their 13, and after a few missed tackles, their 13 scored a try. The conversion was good, 0-12. After soaking up a lot of pressure around the 22, Fleetwood’s Simon Kilburn stepped up and made a bone crunching tackle. Fleetwood gained a penalty from the ruck. The ball was kicked into touch, but the line-out sadly came to nothing. Another wasted opportunity by Fleetwood. Moments later, Wigan found yet another gap in Fleetwood’s defence. Try scored, again in the left half of the pitch. Luckily for Fleetwood the conversion was missed, 0-17. Later on, in play, Fleetwood won a lineout on the Wigan 22. Fleetwood started a great driving maul, however, the attempt at a dive for the line was sadly missed. Fleetwood couldn’t quite finish it this time. Wigan soaked up all the pressure, and took the initiative by kicking the ball downfield. However, Fleetwood picked the ball up following the Wigan clearance, and stormed forward. Fleetwood won a penalty and Howie took it quickly, smoothly offloaded it to Conner. This time Fleetwood could finish, and a great try scored by Conner Rothery. Howie converted and Fleetwood were back in the game, 7-17. In the last play of the half, Wigan won a scrum on Fleetwood’s 5 metre line. The ball was moved blind. After a great Fleetwood tackle, Wigan were pushed back and Fleetwood won a penalty. Howie kicked the ball to touch. Moments later, Fleetwood gave away a penalty on the 22. Luckily for Fleetwood, Wigan made a forward pass. The half time whistle blew, Fleetwood still down, 7-17.
A high kick by Fleetwood caused Wigan to knock on at the start of the half. Sadly the scrum on the Wigan 22 came to nothing for Fleetwood as Fleetwood had butter fingers too. Wigan seemed set to score again, but a last-ditch tackle caused Wigan to knock on just before the try line. Fleetwood won the scrum, and the pressure was relieved with a kick into touch. Wigan were down to 14 men following a yellow card and a Fleetwood penalty was given, but it didn’t stop Wigan. Fleetwood kicked to touch, and a line-out on the 10 followed. However, Wigan turned the ball over, and scored again. The conversion was missed, score 7-22. From the kick off, Fleetwood managed to get the ball back. Then the T-Rex himself, Bob Barnes, excited the Fleetwood bench with some amazing hand offs. Wigan won a scrum, and shipped the ball out. Another gap in the Fleetwood defence was exploited and the Wigan player dashed up the pitch to score. Wigan scored the conversion, 7-29. After a Fleetwood winning line-out on the 22m Fleetwood made a handling mistake. A Wigan player made a simple interception and scored under the posts. Wigan scored the conversion, 7-36. However, after kick off, the ball made it to the hands of Johnny Bridges, and he scored in style, diving in the right corner. Fleetwood missed the conversion. Final Score 12-36.
A good start to the season against a strong Wigan side built round the nucleus of a local rugby league team who have played together all summer. Fleetwood did the basics well. Scrum and lineout were good and they drove the ball well. The difference between the two sides was Wigan’s handling ability and extra pace.
Man of the Match – Conner Rothery
. Picked for his sheer work rate, and great performance.
A draw was achieved at the beer race, with under age Connor unfortunately having to pass the pint on!!!
There was some talk of Wigan whingeing that Fleet were going to put out a strengthened team with the 1st & 2nd XV’s without a game. Considering the make up of the Pie Eaters team, maybe honourable Fleetwood had a contrary case!!