Hull Kingston Rovers 14-46 Wigan Warriors
Warriors too much for Robins
On a weekend of celebration for the town of Wigan, the rugby league side took another step towards replicating the football team's Wembley appearance by knocking out Hull KR to reach the quarter-finals of the Tetley's Challenge Cup after a 46-14 win.
A small district with a population of just over 80,000, Wigan ground to a halt on Saturday as Athletic beat Manchester City to win the FA Cup. Congratulations from Shaun Wane's Warriors were warm and they then moved to within 160 minutes of making the same journey in August.
Warriors used to be owned by Athletic owner Dave Whelan and the two teams still share the same ground, but unlike the footballers, the 13-a-side team were not underdogs.
After a tricky start they lived up to their favourites tag. Four-try Sam Tomkins led the way with a 10-minute hat-trick which took his tally to 21 tries in nine games.
The Warriors are, of course, more accustomed to visits to the capital than the football side. They had a permanent residence there between 1988 and 1995 and, on the form they have shown so far this season, a 19th title is unlikely to be beyond them.
For some time, though, this was not the walkover it was expected to be in the wake of Wigan's 84-6 win on the same ground last month. Rovers were brutal in the opening half-hour and rattled Wigan with a series of booming hits but could not stay the course at that intensity.
Largely KR's physicality was legal but, in one nasty-looking incident, ex-Robin Blake Green was clattered by Cory Paterson and had to be taken off, with the forward put on report.
That David Hodgson touched down Michael Dobson's early kick only added to Wigan's woes and they would have been in more trouble had Craig Hall shown better composure when clean through.
But, after sorting out their system in the wake of Green's withdrawal and, more importantly, their discipline, they got on top thanks to two tries in the five minutes before half-time from Tomkins.
His first was a simple one - he saw a gap and ran through it under the posts - but the second was given to him.
Sam Powell's kick was dropped under no pressure by Omari Caro and, in the subsequent set, Tomkins kicked through and Greg Eden, rather than falling on it, kicked it back up for him and the ball was dotted down.
Pat Richards converted both and Wigan headed to the dressing rooms 12-4 ahead and with a sense they had broken their hosts' spirit. But, if that was not true at the time, it was five minutes after the break.
Typically Tomkins was the man on the spot, claiming his hat-trick next to the sticks after a break and inside ball from Richards, who tagged on an extra two. Then, two minutes later, they swapped roles, with Tomkins kicking through for the waiting Richards.
By the time Josh Charnley scored in the corner - three minutes later - some home fans had rounded on coach Craig Sandercock, whose contract situation is going to be reviewed in the coming weeks.
A more primary concern may be a review of their defending as Iain Thornley stripped past two men to go the length of the field for a sixth score.
A response finally arrived when Hall dotted down a loose one following a Charnley knock-on, but Wigan quickly got back into their stride as Liam Farrell pushed his way through with 14 minutes left.
It would have been fitting for Tomkins to have the last word and it looked as though he would when he kicked and chased for a fourth, but Hall responded for Rovers to wrap up the scoring with a charge down.