Wigton denied victory by last gasp try
Martin Tickner reports.
Wigton put in a battling display at Trafford MV but ultimately lost the match in the dying minutes.
Wigton started very positively and were awarded an early penalty but Dan Reeds kick sailed past the uprights. However, after only 10 minutes following a great passage of play, the forwards took over with a series of pick and goes before Dan Cozens dropped over the line for Wigtons first try, the conversion was missed but Wigton led 5-0.
Within 5 minutes, the Wigton forwards were camped on the Trafford line before the ball was released to Dave Hanabury who passed the ball quickly to Richard Moffatt who in turn flicked the ball over the oncoming tackler for Stephen Harris to burst through for Wigtons second try, Reed converted to give Wigton a12-0 lead. Wigton continued to dominate the remainder of the first half without adding to the scoreboard.
Trafford came out for the second half with all guns blazing and were suddenly ahead 14-12 after scoring two converted tries within the first 10 minutes. Nonetheless, Wigton were truly dominant in the scrum, pushing the Trafford pack backwards at every opportunity. Following a home scrum, the Wigton pack pushed them back, Josh Nicholson giving a superb performance at no. 8 picked up the ball on the half way line and broke through the defence and was heading for a certain try when the referee blew his whistle and brought the play back after he had allegedly obstructed a Trafford player attempting to tackle Nicholson. The referee could be heard apologising for his mistake but Wigton has been denied a certain try.
The next passage of play saw Richard Moffatt making a tremendous run through the home defence before offloading to Josh Nicholson who was brought down by a high tackle. At the next ruck a Trafford player was shown a yellow card for not rolling away, Dan Reed slotted the penalty between the posts and Wigton were back ahead at 15-14. At this point the course of the game changed dramatically when the next scrum and all remaining scrums during the final 20 minutes were uncontested due to Trafford not having a full complement of front row players on the pitch much to the annoyance of the Wigton players. The scrum has been Wigtons most potent weapon until this point and as Trafford were soon back at full strength, Wigtons defence was being sorely tested.
With only minutes remaining it looked like Wigton has weathered the storm when the Trafford winger knocked on in sight of the line. From the resultant scrum, Wigton kicked for touch, however the referee adjudged that the Wigton line out jumped too early and awarded the home side a free kick. Words were uttered and the referee moved the free kick a further 10 metres towards the Wigton line. Without hesitation Trafford opted for an uncontested scrum, the ball was passed inside to the huge Trafford centre who burst though the middle to score near the posts, the conversion was simple and the home side were in front 21-15. There was only time for one further foray into the Trafford half before the referee blew the full time whistle.
The Wigton players can be proud of their performance as all 15 starting players contested the whole 80 minutes on a very heavy and muddy pitch. They can count themselves unlucky not to come away with a victory as they were in control for most of the game until the uncontested scrums came into play and allowed the Trafford backs to get into the game.