Wigan bounced back from their shock 62-0 hammering at Wakefield last weekend with a hard-fought victory over Castleford at the DW Stadium.
The Warriors suffered their heaviest defeat in over a decade in going down at Belle Vue last Sunday although two tries from John Bateman and one apiece for Lewis Tierney and Nick Gregson helped them get back to winning ways.
Matty Smith converted all four tries and added a penalty to boot, with Castleford’s scores from Denny Solomona and Grant Millington, with Luke Gale adding the extras, proving mere consolation.
Shaun Wane largely stuck with the inexperienced side that were humbled by Wakefield as only two changes were made, with Bateman coming in for Jack Higginson and Dom Crosby taking the place of Jack Wells on the bench for his first appearance of the season.
Tigers coach Daryl Powell made one change from the starting line-up that beat Widnes last week with Oliver Holmes starting in the second row and Matt Cook dropping to the bench.
Castleford started the strongest and a mistake from Gregson deep in his own half saw the Tigers take advantage of the free play as Gale put a kick in for Solomona to touch down.
The Warriors were soon back on level terms when Tierney collected a ball from Lee Mossop before latching onto his own kick and scoring a try by the side of the posts.
Before Smith added the extras to make it 6-6, and referee Phil Bentham sent Gale to the sin-bin for arguing that Mossop’s ball to Tierney had gone forward. The Warriors ended the half the strongest with Joel Tomkins, Smith and Tierney going close and they took an 8-6 lead with Smith kicking a penalty on the hooter.
Castleford went back in front in the 46th minute when Millington went over after sharp work from Joel Monaghan and Greg Minikin on the right following Gale’s high bomb.
An error from Gale and successive penalties put the Warriors in a good attacking position and this time they made it count.
It looked like Joel Tomkins was going down a dead end before he offloaded to Bateman, who then stepped and showed a great turn of pace to score under the posts.
Wigan put the game out of Castleford’s reach in the final 10 minutes with youngster Gregson throwing a dummy on the left to grab his first try for the club, Smith maintaining his 100 per cent record with the boot by adding the extras to take the Warriors 20-12 ahead.
A short kick-off saw Castleford regain possession and pile the pressure on the Warriors’ line, but the home side held firm with Matt Cook and Paul McShane both stopped inches short.
The Tigers refused to lie down and fought hard until the final whistle, but Wigan deserved the victory in the end and they made the scoreline more flattering with Bateman touching down in the final seconds, Smith converting.
Wigan: Sarginson, Tierney, Bateman, Gildart, Charnley, Gregson, Smith, Mossop, Powell, Clubb, J. Tomkins, Isa, Sutton. Subs: Crosby, Tautai, Burke, Bretherton.
Castleford: Hampshire, Monaghan, Minikin, Webster, Solomona, T. Holmes, Gale, Lynch, Milner, Jewitt, O. Holmes, McMeeken, Massey. Subs: McShane, Millington, Maher, Cook.
Referee: Phil Bentham (RFL).