Castleford Tigers’ winning run against Wigan Warriors was ended as they conceded five tries to two to go down 28-12 at the DW Stadium.
Daryl Powell’s men were on the wrong end of some tough decisions, but could not have any complaints over the result as their hosts were better in crucial areas.
They came back from 14-2 behind to be only two points down at half-time, but failed to score in the second 40 points.
Castleford started strongly and put the first points on the board with a Luke Gale penalty.
They came close to a second score when Garry Lo - in for his competitive debut on the wing - pounced on a loose ball near his own line and kicked ahead three times. He eventually dropped on the ball, but after Sam Tomkins got away with holding him down the next play saw the Tigers lose the ball. Wigan made their way down the field via a penalty and were then given another, from which Sam Tomkins missed with a kick from 40 metres out.
The next set brought them another penalty and Tomkins slotted the ball between the posts to level the score.
The hosts then went ahead following a great break down field by Joe Burgess. Cas winger Greg Minikin did well to chase back and catch him, but a quick play the ball saw Oliver Gildart given an easy stroll in for the first try, to which Tomkins added the goal.
A second Wigan try followed when Liam Farrell slipped out of an attempted tackle by Ben Roberts and charged over for a try converted by Tomkins.
That score had come after a controversial penalty given against Jake Webster for allegedly blocking a Warriors chaser to a high ball that was claimed by Minikin.
Cas dug in, however, and scored their first try on 34 minutes with Oliver Holmes taking one to the head on his way over the line following a strong run. Gale’s goal narrowed the gap to six points.
It got even better three minutes later when a classy left edge move led to Jake Trueman sending Lo over for his first try for the Tigers. There was no goal, but they were pleased to be back in it at 14-12 at the break.
A poor start to the second half, however, saw Webster and Minikin fail to stop Burgess in his own half and the home winger charged down field. He was stopped just short, but was able to get the ball away to the supporting Gildart who scored his second try.
The Tigers lost Nathan Massey to a shoulder injury and were short of a substitute for the second half. They could never quite exert the pressure they needed and were unlucky when Paul McShane seized on a knock-on by the hosts on half-way and on what should have been a free play he hacked on only to be stopped just short of the line. Instead of coming back for a Tigers scrum Wigan were allowed possession - a clear error by the referee.
A Sam Tomkins 40-20 kick gave Wigan another scoring chance, which they took.
George Williams’ dashed to the line and reached out. The ball was grounded short, but referee Hicks and video referee Ben Thaler gave him the benefit of the doubt as momentum may have seen the ball just touch the line for a try.
There was no benefit of the doubt at the other end when Lo tried to dive over for a try for Cas. As he was reaching out Willie Isa came across and knocked the ball out of his hand, but the officials deemed it had been a loose carry and not a penalty or a penalty try.
On those two big try and no try decisions both going Wigan’s way the game was effectively all over.
Wigan added a bit of gloss to their win with a late try and Toby Club dived under bodies on the line for the final try.
Scorers - Wigan: Tries Gildart 2, Farrell, Williams, Clubb; goals S Tomkins 4. Castleford: Tries Holmes, Lo; goals Gale 2.
Wigan Warriors: S Tomkins; Marshall, Bateman, Gildart, Burgess; Williams, Powell; Clubb, Leuluai, Flower, Isa, Farrell, O’Loughlin. Subs: J Tomkins, Sutton, Tautai, Navarrete.
Castleford Tigers: Trueman; Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Lo; Roberts, Gale; Watts, McShane, Massey, Holmes, Wardle, Foster. Subs: Millington, McMeeken, Milner, Cook.
Referee: Robert Hicks