Warrington keep pressure on Wigan

Round-up: Warrington beat Wakefield 42-12 to move to within a point of Super League leaders Wigan.


Former Wakefield centre Ryan Atkins scored a hat-trick of tries against his old club but it was two-try Stefan Ratchford who played the decisive role as the Wolves completed the double over the Wildcats.

The former Salford utility back, who had been out for 11 weeks after damaging his shoulder in the sixth game of the season, returned a month earlier than expected and made an immediate impact as Warrington ran out comfortable winners in the end.

Wakefield, who lost 32-30 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in March, were again poised to spring a shock when they hit back to draw level at 12-12 by half-time. But Ratchford took a pass from Matty Blythe eight minutes into the second half to restore his side's lead and made sure of the win with a solo effort on the hour.

The Wolves then piled on the agony for Wakefield with three further tries in the last 16 minutes, all converted by Brett Hodgson, who finished with seven goals from as many attempts.

Wakefield, led out by former Warrington full-back Richard Mathers in the absence of Danny Kirmond with an abductor strain, belied their lowly position with some entertaining rugby that caused all sorts of problems for their visitors.

They deservedly took the lead when half-backs Tim Smith and Isaac John combined with loose forward Danny Washbrook to get second rower Frankie Mariano charging over for a fifth-minute try, but Warrington demonstrated their class to run in two tries in 13 minutes.

Atkins took Hodgson's pass to go through a gap for his side's first try and then sent winger Chris Riley over at the corner after Gareth O'Brien's long, looping pass created an overlap. Hodgson's second conversion made it 12-6 but a flurry of penalties enabled the Wildcats to build some pressure.

Centre Dean Collis got over the line but was unable to ground the ball and Mathers had a try disallowed for an obstruction before the pressure paid off when replacement forward Steve Southern crashed over seven minutes before half-time to mark his return from a calf strain.

Wakefield dominated the early stages of the second half without being able to crack the Wolves' defence. But a superb offload by Blythe got Ratchford racing over for his side's third try that effectively ended the game as a contest. Atkins went over twice in nine minutes to complete his hat-trick and Riley intercepted a pass to grab his second.

Elsewhere, the depth of Castleford's squad was laid bare at Hull KR as the injury-ravaged Tigers were beaten 70-12 by a Robins side still in the play-off mix.

Shorn of their three first-choice half-backs in Rangi Chase, Ryan McGoldrick and Danny Orr, Ian Millward's men rarely got a look in at MS3 Craven Park. Hull KR moved to within a point of the top eight with this win, which was more or less secured with just 10 minutes on the clock.

They had scored three tries by that point and went on to add nine more, with David Hodgson scoring four and Shannon McDonnell three as the Red and Whites bettered their 70-14 victory over Wakefield last season to record their best-ever Suer League victory.

Castleford were culpable of triggering their own downfall, with full-back Richard Owen missing Craig Hall's third-minute kick and giving McDonnell a free run in on his first appearance since announcing he will be leaving the club at the end of the season.

Michael Dobson added the extras and then assisted in his side's second try two minutes later, albeit with a hint of good fortune. His pass to the left appeared forward to the naked eye but not to referee James Child, and that left Kris Welham with an overlap which Hodgson duly took advantage of in the corner.

The home side were flowing and Blake Green backed that up with a beautiful 40-20 kick which led to another try - Sam Latus going in at the corner after a link-up between Green and McDonnell. With Dobson perfect with the boot, Rovers were 18-0 up with just nine minutes gone and Castleford were unable to live with them.

McDonnell getting his second and Hull KR's fourth as he chased a Dobson kick. The latter kicked his fourth goal from the touchline. The game was already over as a contest and a fifth try duly followed 21 minutes in as captain Ben Galea skipped around Grant Millington and set Hodgson free for a walk-in second which Dobson improved.

Welham went in six minutes before the break after an offload from Con Mika. Respite did arrive in the shape of a try from Jordan Thompson for Castleford, but normal service was resumed three minutes after the break when Hodgson got his hat-trick after some neat interplay between Galea and McDonnell.

Australian full-back McDonnell was not long behind Hodgson in securing his own treble, taking in a Dobson pass in the 55th minute, with Lincoln Withers joining the fun soon after, combining with Scott Murrell to break clear. Murrell was making a nuisance of himself off the substitutes bench and laid on a score for Mika with 17 minutes remaining.

Castleford did cross again through Josh Griffin, but Rovers were quickly back on the front foot, with Hall crossing in the corner and Dobson then adding his 10th goal from 11 attempts from the line. And a new record was set with four minutes remaining when Hodgson took Dobson's kick on the fly, with the scrum-half tagging on the extras.

Catalan Dragons bounced back from their Challenge Cup defeat by Warrington to notch their fifth win in their last six Super League matches, beating Widnes 42-34.

And London Broncos were edged out 12-14 by Hull FC at Gillingham Football Club’s Priestfield Stadium, in the second of the Broncos’ on-the-road home games, with a Danny Tickle penalty proving the difference.

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