Just two weeks after suffering a 60-0 Super League defeat to Wigan at the DW Stadium, Hull Kingston Rovers returned to the borough of Wigan, but this time to Leigh Sports Village, to inflict a shock 12-16 defeat of the Warriors in the sixth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
And in the first ten minutes there was no indication of the shock that was about to unfold, as Wigan attacked incessantly but, crucially, were unable to score, with the video-referee turning down an effort by Dom Crosby after eight minutes because of a knock-on by Ryan Hampshire in the build-up.
Wigan took the lead on 13 minutes when Matty Smith kicked a penalty after a foul by Rovers hooker John Boudebza on Wigan skipper Sean O’Loughlin.
But the Robins took the lead six minutes later, when Maurice Blair powered his way over in the corner, with Josh Mantellato adding the goal from the touchline.
In a game that had a 13-11 penalty count, it took Wigan until the 36th minute to draw level, when Joel Tomkins crossed after being fed the ball by George Williams, but Smith couldn’t add the goal, and when Mantellato also missed a penalty, the two teams went in 6-6 at the interval.
The Robins pulled ahead on 47 minutes with a Mantellato penalty, but Smith equalised three minutes later.
But Hull KR got their noses in front again when Mantellato kicked his third goal for a penalty on 58 minutes, while Smith pushed a penalty wide two minutes later.
Wigan took a 12-10 lead, however, when Joe Burgess got over in the left corner on 64 minutes, but again Smith couldn’t add the goal.
With just eight minutes remaining, however, Ken Sio scored a shock try for the Robins when Dan Sarginson lost the ball near his own line in a tackle from Blair, and Sio picked up and powered over from close range, with Mantellato adding the goal.
With less than three minutes to go Tomkins looked as though he had scored again, but the video replay showed that his foot had slid into touch before he had grounded the ball, and when Mantellato dropped on a Tomkins grubber at the end the Robins and their supporters celebrated a deserved victory.
A full report, photos and analysis will feature in Monday’s edition of Rugby League Express.