John Mooney: West Hull vs Wigan St Patricks
West Hull were the form team coming into the semi-final of the Challenge Trophy against Wigan St Patricks at North Road on Saturday but St Pats turned the form-book inside out to register an emphatic 38-18 victory which takes them to a Final against Hunslet Club Parkside.
There didn't look too much of a problem for the Green and Golds in the early exchanges and a dropped high ball saw Jack Lazenby power his way over with Scott Partis converting. St Pats powerhouse prop James Bristow went over for the visitors with seemingly half the Wests defence hanging on to him and with James Ratcliffe converting the scored were tied. Another fumble on the line saw Jacob Moore get on the scoresheet for Wests with Partis again converting and with a strong wind at their backs the home side could have been expected to take advantage. But St Pats half-backs had other ideas and used the conditions with great effect with first wily scrum-half Joe Higham gathering a bouncing ball to go in unopposed for a try converted by Ratcliffe and the strong-running winger then scored himself which he again added the extras.
Bristow again showed his strength by going over just on the half-time whistle for another converted try which left St Pats holding a 24-18 advantage at the break. Despite strong pressure in the second period Wests never really looked like breaking a tremendous St Pats defence and when Ratcliffe added a penalty there didn't look much hope though Ryan Wilson's powerful run saw the home side reduce the deficit to just eight points. However, speedy winger Afeez Oderlinde put the game beyond Wests reach and the icing was put on the cake when Dean Hatton went over at the full-time whistle.
It was comfortably the visitor's best performance of the season - they were hammered at Siddal just a week before - and though Scott Howlett and Rob Wilson tried their best for the Green and Golds they were decidedly second best for most of the game and could have no excuses.