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Wigan clinch first place
Warriors leave it late to break Robins' hearts
Wigan scored the last four tries at New Craven Park to secure a 42-36 win over Hull KR and the League Leaders' Shield in the process.
The victory set a new Super League record with Wigan overturning a 26-point deficit, eclipsing the record set by London in August.
The Robins had little to play for, but looked like pulling off an upset as they still led the Warriors by 14 points with 16 minutes left.
But Pat Richards converted his own try late on to put Wigan in front for the first time before Josh Charnley settled the contest.
Brett Finch's pass confused Gareth Hock but not KR's Craig Hall, who ran the ball home from 80 metres and Michael Dobson added the extras for a 6-0 lead.
Dobson's penalty in the 11th minute made it 8-0 and Wigan were punished further when Scott Taylor's powerful run to the posts and offload presented Dobson with the opportunity to send Lincoln Withers over for their second try. Dobson's conversion made it 14-0 after 14 minutes.
Skipper Ben Galea marked his final game at MS3 Craven Park with a trademark try, as Hall and Dobson combined to send the captain over after taking the ball at speed and the right angle.
Castleford-bound centre Jake Webster was also making his final appearance on home soil and it was fitting he marked his departure with a try four minutes before half-time. Hall's presence in the air forced Sam Tomkins into an error which Webster seized on to score under the posts.
Dobson's trusty left boot made it 26-0 to the Robins to evoke memories of their first Super League meeting in 2007. Rovers held on for a 26-16 win that day and the fans who were there that night knew there would be a fight back in this game.
Three minutes before the break, Wigan scored twice as first Finch stretched over near the right-hand corner before Charnley kicked forward for Darrell Goulding to score. Richards converted both and suddenly things were looking a bit better for Wigan as they went in at the interval trailing 26-12.
Rovers extended their lead to 20 points as Dobson's kick through was grounded by Withers under the posts, with the former adding the conversion.
Wigan needed to score four times to get back in front. Hock's close-range try in the 55th minute was converted by Richards to make their task a little easier.
In their very next set, Tomkins exposed a gap on the right edge of Rovers' defence to send Richards over. However, he missed the conversion to leave his side trailing by 10 at 32-22.
Dobson missed a 62nd-minute penalty that would have made it a 12-point game, but the hosts made it 36-22 when Jeff Lima knocked on playing the ball and from the scrum, Louis Sheriff sent Dave Hodgson over in the left hand corner.
George Carmont's unconverted try with 12 minutes to go set up a tense finale and Tomkins burst through on the last tackle to send Liam Farrell over under the posts, with Richards' conversion closing the gap to four points at 36-32.
Richards completed a remarkable comeback with a try down the left wing. His conversion edged the Warriors into a 38-36 lead, and Charnley's try on his return to Craven Park in the final minute ensured the Shield was bound for Wigan.
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Rita Ashton says...
Well done Wigan to win. The league is no mean feat - you have proved you are the best at home and away throughout the season. We are proud to have won the Challenge Cup but luck of the draw is always involved.
Posted 18:36 2nd September 2012
Paul Rourke says...
champiarneys, champiarneys ola ola ola.
Posted 18:24 2nd September 2012
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Wakefield 18 - 42 Hull K R|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Catalan Dragons 28 - 6 Castleford|
|London Broncos 36 - 46 Bradford|
|Friday 12th September|
|Salford 36 - 6 Widnes|
|Huddersfield 17 - 16 St Helens|
|Hull 24 - 19 Leeds|
|Thursday 11th September|
|Wigan 24 - 20 Warrington|
|Sunday 7th September|
|Castleford 26 - 22 Wakefield|
|Hull K R 14 - 32 Catalan Dragons|
|Bradford 12 - 32 Widnes|
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