A dominant Wakefield kicked of round 18 of Super League with a convincing 32-16 home win over Wigan  – their third in as many years – to open up a gap between themselves and the chasing pack trying to avoid an end  of season session in the middle 8s.
From the off, the hosts were in charge of the game, while the Cherry and Whites continued their out-of-sorts form which has seen them lose three games on the trot. Though the visitors are still second in the table, the gap between them and leaders St Helens opened out to four points following this loss - and could increase to six if Saints win their fixture against Hull KR tomorrow. The way the game was going was clear from the second minute, when Wigan conceded the first penalty of the game – for offside – and the first of seven penalties they would give away in the next 25 minutes. The gifted field position for Trinity paid its inevitable dividend in the seventh minute when winger Jamie Jones-Bishop pulled in a great looping pass from Max Jowett for a clear run to cross the line in the corner and give the hosts a 4-0 lead. Former Wigan youth player Ryan Hampshire missed the conversion, but made up for it less than 10 minutes later when Wigan were penalised for a high tackle less 10 metres out and in front of the posts, putting themselves 6-0 behind. Then on 19 minutes, Thomas Lueluai found himself walking to the sin bin for an off-the-ball tackle which flattened Justin Horo – leading to the Wakefield player leaving the field himself for a compulsory concussion test. Within minutes, Wakefield took made the man advantage pay when Bill Tupou burrowed over from dummy half. Hampshire converted, and when Wigan’s ill-discipline saw them penalised for a swinging arm under the he added two more for a 14-0 lead. Then, on 29 minutes, Wakefield conceded their first penalty and Leuluai returned to the field. Both events sparked a fight-back on Wigan’s part. Dav Hamlin, a 21-year-old mid-season signing from South Sidney Rabbitohs crossed for his first try in Super League, which Sam Tomkins converted, and Wigan went into their half-time team talk with a more respectable 14-6 score. And the break seemed to have done them good as they pressed the Trinity line hard for the opening exchanges of the second half. But then came Ben Jones-Bishop again, intercepting a looping Wigan pass and running 90m to score under the sticks. The conversion was a formality for Hampshire and three minutes into the second half the hosts had stretched the leadto 20-6. Another try, by Tom Johnstone, and another Wigan penalty given away in front of the posts saw that taken out to a 26-6 lead. Then the Wigan attack started, again with 10 minutes of the half left and a 20-point deficit to overhaul. Tom Davies scored a brilliant solo try, ghosting past defenders, converted by Tomkins on 71 minutes and two minutes later Morgan Escaré crossed, to bring the score to 26-16. But that was to be the last score by the visitors and the final act of the piece came when Sam Tomkins voiced his dissent at a Wakefield scrum, awarded after the ball came loose in the tackle. Referee James Child had no hesitation in converting the scrum to a penalty. Within a minute, powerhouse prop Pauli Pauli had powered over for Wakefield, brushing Leuluai’s attempted tackle aside, and Hampshire’s conversion notched up the final score of 32-16. Half Time: 14-6 Wakefield: Jowitt; Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Tupou, Johnstone; Miller, Hampshire; Fifita, Randell, England, Ashurst, Kirmond, Horo. Replacements: Wood, Pauli, Arona, Hirst. Tries: Jones-Bishop 2, Tupou, Johnstone, Pauli Goals: Hampshire 6 Wigan: S Tomkins; Davies, Sarginson, Gildart, Mullen; Williams, Powell; Clubb, Leuluai, Navarrete, Bateman, Farrell, O'Loughlin. Replacements: Isa, Escaré, Field, Hamlin. Tries: Hamlin, Davies, Escaré Goals: Tomkins 2 Referee: James Child
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