York 0-26 Wigan: Warriors prove too strong in first meeting since 1986

Tony Clubb (17) of Wigan Warriors scores his try making it 0-24

Wigan were made to work hard before securing their place in the Betfred Challenge Cup quarter-finals with a 26-0 victory at Championship side York.

York asserted early pressure on the 2020 Grand Final runners-up but the quality of the Super League outfit eventually shone through as they ran in five tries at the LNER Community Stadium.

Zak Hardaker, who finished with 10 points, made the breakthrough before Harry Smith and Sam Halsall, with his first senior try, put the Warriors into a 14-0 half-time lead.

Umyla Hanley – son of rugby league great Ellery – ran in his first Wigan try and Tony Clubb wrapped up victory for the visitors.

York head coach James Ford will be proud of his injury-hit Knights, who had several first-team players missing and handed debuts to 17-year-olds Myles Harrison and AJ Towse.

The opening exchanges proved physical with plenty of big hits from both sides without either team getting a stranglehold of the contest.

Harrison – who signed his first professional contract on the morning of the tie – made a positive start, confidently taking an early high ball before drawing a penalty for a late hit by Morgan Smithies.

The hosts forced Wigan into handling errors and worked their way downfield, with Tyme Dow-Nikau pushed into touch in the right corner and Will Jubb held up inside the first 15 minutes.

Wigan thought they opened the scoring when a cut-out pass from Jackson Hastings found Smithies but he was penalised for a double movement when touching down.

Adrian Lam’s side did not have to wait long to take lead, however, as Hardaker scythed through the Knights’ left edge to cross for the opening try in the 20th minute.

York continued to pressurise the Warriors’ line but the visitors showed steely defence before showcasing their quality at the other end on the half-hour mark.

A Hastings high kick was collected by a towering catch from Halsall, whose offload sparked a flowing passing move and Jake Bibby played in Smith to cross in the right corner.

Hardarker failed once again with conversion as Wigan led 8-0 but they soon added to their advantage in the 35th minute.

Clubb drove the Warriors upfield to get inside York’s 20-metre line but a brilliant cut-out pass from Hastings found Halsall to cross as Wigan took a 14-0 lead into the break.

The second half started in similar vein to the first as York applied pressure on the Warriors tryline but another knock-on spurned a golden chance for the hosts to get on the scoreboard.

But it was Wigan who would score next when a sweeping move down the left saw Hanley slide in for his maiden try, with Hardaker adding the extras from the touchline.

Victory was assured for the visitors just after the hour mark when Clubb powered his way over from close range to put his side 26-0 ahead.

York continued to push and pinned Wigan on their own line after three successive penalties but a handling error saw their best chance to grab a consolation score slip by.

The hosts were unlucky to not get a try their play deserved as they turn their attention on earning promotion to the Super League.

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