Bradford Dudley Hill achieved their second away win of the season after defeating Wigan St.Judes 10-32.
With St.Judes recording a good win last week against Hull Dockers and Hill coming off the back of a hammering in Leigh, it was a must win game for both sides in terms of progression in the table.
After leaking over 100 points in their previous two games, Dudley Hill coach Jason Lee demanded that defence must improve and before kick-off urged his side to come together as one. He wanted the stand-out individuals to become a more galvanised unit for what he described as, “the biggest game of the season so far.”
Dudley Hill were without their top try scorer Neil Wall who has been called up to represent the Great Britain Community Lions against France this coming week. The Wigan side were missing some key personnel, Paul Pendlebury, Gavin Corfield and Martin Riley who is currently serving a five match ban.
After a well observed minutes’ silence for the late wife of St.Judes favourite Dougie Parker, proceedings got under way at Parsons Medow and It was the home side who threatened from the start. Poor discipline from the Bradford side allowed Judes early field position however a mistake from full- back, Craig Bithell relieved the pressure.
The referee was stamping his authority throughout the game and Dudley Hill were the first to capitalise on it. A penalty awarded on half-way, was kicked down field which provided the first score of the game for centre Lewis Evans, the try successfully converted by Tony Williams.
The home side were making error after error and Dudley Hill exploited it once more. A dropped ball on the first tackle gave the visitors another opportunity. The scrum only twenty metres out provided the platform for another assault on the St.Judes line, second-row Sam Broadley found a gap in the defence and crashed over putting Hill 12-0 up after just ten minutes.
St.Judes were being starved of territory due to the ferocious defence of the away side, trapping them in their own half. With only fifteen minutes played, Wigan St.Judes coach Ronnie Dootson ringed the changes. Hooker Danny Clayton was removed after a short spell and replaced by Martin Riley and prop Dave Myerscough was switched for Daryl King.
Hill continued to threaten and exceptional offload from Broadley put full-back Danny Thomas in space, he showed blistering pace but was brought down twenty short by his opposite number, Craig Bithell.
The following set provided the next score for Dudley Hill. Anthony Huby produced a good inside ball to Danny Thomas who this time got over the whitewash to put his side three tries clear. Hill were faster around the ruck than their opposition and the early penalty count for offside at play-the-ball was paying dividends for the visitors.
Hill’s, hard-hitting back-rower, Anthony Huby came up with a huge tackle on Judes prop, Daryl King to dislodge the ball. Back in possession the Bradford side wasted no time getting back on the score sheet. A superb three-man miss pass from stand-off Williams put seventeen year old debutant, Aiden Bailey in the corner.
With a four try lead Dudley Hill were showing signs of complacency and were penalised heavily. A lapse in concentration allowed Steve Pownall in to claim the first points of the afternoon for St.Judes.
With only seconds of the first-half remaining St.Judes scrum-half Dean Hunt scored an inspiring try beating four defenders to give his side a chance of a second half revival.
After last week’s second-half meltdown and with only a twelve point lead at half-time pressure was back on Hill. The home side had their tails up with back to back tries right on the break.
With the floodlights on the second half got underway and Judes continued well, hammering into the visitors defence and looking very dangerous in attack. A grubber kick into the in goal provided an early opportunity but was diffused by Thomas to keep the home side at bay.
The Wigan side only managed to complete thirty percent of their sets in the first half. It was clear this had been addressed at the break and they had three repeat sets on the visitors line however they failed to score. The away side became their own worst enemies and some nail biting defence was required as Dudley Hill began to cough up possession far too easily and give away naive penalties in quick concession, illegal ball steals and foul play in the main.
Judes playmaker Dean Hunt was trying everything to create an opportunity. After a long period spent camped on the Dudley Hill line that try they so crucially needed never came and it was clear that it had a psychological effect on them. Hunt struck a brilliant 40/20 in a last ditch effort to find points though yet again they could not break the Hill’s defence.
Against the run of play, full-back Danny Thomas found a gap in the tiring Wigan defence and ran forty metres to score in the corner with not long to go. Their fate was sealed when a drop out with only ten minutes remaining was dropped on the half-way line by Judes prop, Kevin Howells. Man of the match Tony Williams latched onto the end of a grubber to score under the posts and complete a crucial victory for his side.
The win keeps the Bradford side out of the relegation zone and only three points from a play-off position. St.Judes remain in the relegation fight, they are now only two points from the bottom of the league and with a win for arch rivals Wigan St.Patricks the pressure is mounting on them.
Dudley Hill coach Jason Lee said: “We have shown ourselves we can travel today. We pride ourselves on our defence and we were very disappointed with last week’s result, we put that right today. We were under some pressure at half-time but we regathered, we have worked hard this week in training and knew we could win this game.”
Hill’s Man of the Match Tony Williams added, “Our defence was key today and i think we seem to play better under pressure. In the last quarter we looked quicker and fitter than them and I think that’s why we won overall.”
A disappointed St.Judes coach, Ronnie Dootson explained: “We were chasing the game after the first twenty minutes, we are traditionally slow starters. This division is hard enough and we are never going to win matches if we do that. We had three internationals missing today and some of our strike players are suspended and injured. We were forced to draft in some under 18’s today and the players missing are in crucial positions. To be quite honest they were bigger and stronger than us and they deserved the victory.”
Hunt added, “The first twenty minutes let us down and we couldn’t get out of our own half, their defence was fantastic and we completed ninety-seven percent of our sets in the second half yet still couldn’t break them down.”
Dudley Hill face the Hull Dockers next at home, a win could see them move one point outside the play-offs. St.Judes have a daunting visit to the league leaders Thatto Heath Crusaders where they will be looking to and snatch a win.
WIGAN ST.JUDES – Craig Bithell, Kevin Lindley, Gareth Adedji, Steven King, Gary Maddison, Mark Whittaker, Dean Hunt, Kevin Howells, Danny
Clayton, Dave Myersclough, Ty Ford, Carl Jones, James Rimmer – SUBS – Dave Picton, Steve Pownall, Martin Riley, Daryl King
WIGAN ST.JUDES MAN OF THE MATCH – Dean Hunt
BRADFORD DUDLEY HILL – Danny Thomas, Aiden Bailey, Lewis Evans, Alex Dickinson, Craig Tyman, Tony Williams, Mick Hill, Jason Lee, Nathan
Kitson, Sean Dickinson, Sam Broadley, Stephen Brook, Anthony Huby – SUBS – Danny Conroy, Kyle Bateman, Will Woodhead, Gareth Walker
BRADFORD DUDLEY HILL MAN OF THE MATCH – Tony Williams