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Sunday, 24 May 2015

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Haven humbled by rampant Wigan

Wigan 106 Whitehaven 8: It was a night to forget for Haven as they crashed out of the Challenge Cup on the receiving end of a club record hammering from the ton-up Warriors.

Cup clash: Karl Edmondson takes on Wigan’s Phil Bailey

Coach Ged Stokes had warned that Wigan would be dangerous after their own personal nightmare when they were crushed by arch rivals St Helens in Cardiff last time out.

It was absolutely no consolation that he was spot on with that particular spot of crystal ball gazing.

They went into the match with the best possible incentive – to pull off one of the competition’s biggest shocks.

The draw from the quarter- finals, made 45 minutes before kick-off, offered the prospect of another pay day with a trip to Leeds the prize for the winners.

Unfortunately, that dream had been well and truly shattered inside the opening 12 minutes.

By then, young Wigan scrum-half Sam Tomkins had staked his claim for the quickest debut hat-trick on record.

Called up for his first start because Kiwi star Tommy Leuluai had been away on international duty, the 19-year-old was still pinching himself later after helping himself to five tries to get his scrapbook off to a memorable start.

By half-time, the rampant Warriors had rattled up 48 points with giant prop Iafeta Paleaaesina setting the mood when he proved to be too big, too strong and too powerful as he battled his way over for the opening try inside the first three minutes.

Aussie Pat Richards added the extras – the first of his 17 goals on the night.

But there were a couple of magic moments to enjoy for the loyal band of Whitehaven fans who made the trip down the M6.

Winger Ade Adebisi – who had Wigan fans reminiscing about the legendary Henderson Gill – showed his speed to race onto Carl Rudd’s pinpoint kick to the right corner to get the touchdown.

He might have had another but he was desperately unlucky when he snapped up an interception close to his own line. The route to glory at the other end looked inviting but, much to his frustration, he was pulled back for putting a foot into touch.

But Adebisi – who also pulled off a try saving tackle on Richard Mathers – showed that he does have Super League potential.

As usual the Whitehaven pack made their presence felt - particularly Ryan McDonald, Karl Edmondson and Saia Makisi.

And they got another well worked try when Rob Jackson provided the finish after the forwards set up the position.

The loss of playmaker Carl Rudd with a worrying knee injury before half-time was a massive blow. And although Wigan ran away with it in the second half with Aussie star Trent Barrett completing his hat trick, Whitehaven refused to throw in the towel.

And coach Stokes is backing his players to bounce back.

“No one likes to get beaten by 100 points but we are not the first team - and we won’t be the last - to lose to a team as confident as Wigan were.

“We did have a few players missing but I don’t think it would have made any difference because of the class difference between the two divisions.

“It gave some of the young fellas a taste of what it’s like to play against a Super League team and they will learn from it. But I do feel sorry for the older players who have been with Whitehaven for a long time.

“A loss like that is an embarrassment to anybody and it can play on your mind. We have a few broken hearts but there’s enough character in the side to make sure we come through it.

“It’s their job now to be professional about the whole thing, and put it behind them.

“We have no excuses but we will make up for it against Batley at the weekend.”

Wigan: Richards, Calderwood, Goulding, Carmont, Colbon, Barrett, S Tomkins, Coley, Higham, Paleaaesina, Bailey, Hock, O’Loughlin. Subs Mathers, Fielden, Hansen, Prescott.

Tries: Tomkins 5, Barrett 3, Hansen 2, Paleaaesina 2, Calderwood 2 O’Loughlin, Higham, Richards, Bailey; Goals: Richards 17

Haven: Broadbent, Adebisi, Jackson, McAvoy, Calvert, Rudd, Bainbridge, Edmondson, Mattinson, McDonald, Hill, Miller, Makisi. Subs Eilbeck, Ford, Barker, Teare.

Tries: Adebisi, Jackson

Attendance: 3,814

Referee: Richard Silverwood

Star man: Adebisi

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