The Millpond men have had to manage with a constantly evolving side for most of the season, but despite several line-up changes the Lions were soon into their straps with the debutant prop Jack Arnold making noticeable inroads into the St Pats’ defence and went on to win 30-16.
Wigan’s initial woes were largely self-inflicted as they left their discipline on the bus and from a succession of early penalties Jake Roberts forced his way over for the opening try, which Liam Kay converted.
The visitors achieved parity from a kick and chase that saw full-back Liam Kay gang tackled and unceremoniously dumped in front of the sticks. This time the referee chose not to penalise the lift-and-drop hit that saw Kay taken from the field and from the resulting scrum Wigan scored close to the posts, the conversion making it 6-6.
A reshuffle of Featherstone’s back line put returning Maltese international Alfie Jewitt at full-back to steady the Lions’ ship and continued Featherstone forward ascendancy paved the way for three further tries before half time, with Harley Axe, Sam Millard and Mike Wise taking the half-time score out to 20-6 with one conversion from Wise.
Axe’s try was the pick of the tries, supporting a Chris Bingham line-break to race away from the half-way line, scattering tacklers aside on his way to scoring.
The second half had the feel that the game was beyond the visitors and in Lions’ total control, but surprisingly the momentum almost turned on a Wigan sending off.
A high hit on Jake Roberts with the red card that followed had Wigan down to 12 and had an immediate galvanising effect on the visitors.
Lions wobbled for a time and St Pats took advantage with their strong running full-back carving out some canny attacking lines to set up two tries that brought Wigan back into contention at only 20-16 down.
Normal service was resumed in the final quarter, however, as Sam Millard and Harley Axe both crossed to complete a brace of tries and one further Mike Wise conversion gave the Lions a comfortable and deserved final margin of 30-16.
Before the game there was a minute’s applause for one of Lions’ most loyal and longest supporters, Deborah Redfearn, who passed away last weekend.
Her nephew Kieran Redfearn did the family name proud with an excellent display on the Lions’ wing.
This Saturday sees Lions at home to Skirlaugh.
Photographer Jonathan Buck was at the Millpond to capture the action from the game and here's a look at his images: