Three down, one to go

Three Carnegie Challenge Cup ties down, one to go and controversy is rife once more.

Wigan tied their place in the semi-final draw with a relatively easy win over Salford City Reds on Friday night, and were joined this evening by Warrington and St Helens.

However, it was Warrington’s game which raised the most eyebrows with referee Phil Bentham at the heart of the controversy.

After Justin Morgan’s rant about referees near on a month back, is it no surprise that games including Hull KR are now having the most controversy.

Two weeks back we had ‘Silverwood-gate’ when the hooter sounded during the completion of a tackle, only for the game to be played on and Hull KR scored through talented scrum-half Michael Dobson.

Referees’ Chief Stuart Cummings blamed it on a dodgy hooter, but there was no mistaking Phil Bentham’s error on TV this evening.

With seconds remaining on the clock, Warrington had the head and feed at a scrum deep into KR territory. Their players formed the pack quickly, and Bentham was clearly heard through the referee’s audio to say “time off” while signalling for time off.

Then just as the players relaxed knowing that they had succeeded in getting time stopped, the hooter went off and the referee paused for thought for a few seconds before blowing for full-time. A massive boo-boo by the timekeepers at Craven Park.

Naturally, Bentham was surrounded – Chelsea-esque – by angry Wolves players. Was he right to call full-time after the siren went? Well, hopefully, this will be clarified later this week by Cummings again.

It would be wrong to state that Bentham was entirely wrong; the ball was technically ‘dead’ when the incident happened, so maybe the rule book states that it has to be in the process of being played, or still in play for it to be valid.

Either way, some interesting debates to be had.

ON A much sadder note, I would like to send my condolences to the Henderson brothers, who suffered the sad loss of their father.

He was seriously ill with leukaemia last year, and Andrew, Ian and Kevin, stated that they would be trying to get success for their father when they played in last year’s World Cup.

Andrew missed out on this evenings game against Cup holders St Helens, but coach Steve McCormack admitted the result of the game ‘paled into insignificance’, with family coming first.

Wise words from Thunder’s coach.


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