WAKEFIELD TRINITY Wildcats’ remarkable resurgence under coach Chris Chester continued as victory over leaders Warrington Wolves moved them within sight of Super League’s top-four.
Wakefield were bottom before Easter, but have been transformed since Chester took charge.
The former Hull KR man has masterminded eight wins in nine league and cup games and a climb to sixth in the table.
Wakefield are five points clear of Hull KR in ninth and only four behind fourth-placed St Helens and the conquering of Warrington – a team who beat them 80-0 last year – was possibly Trinity’s best of the season.
They showed their attacking prowess in a dominant opening 44 minutes, taking a 30-6 lead and then dug deep in the face of a magnificent fightback by the visitors.
Inspired by their former Castleford hooker Daryl Clark, Warrington cut the gap to just four points and seemed destined to break Wakefield’s hearts, until Ben Jones-Bishop scored the home team’s sixth try two minutes from time.
It was a remarkable effort by Jones-Bishop, who was among three Wakefield players sin-binned in the second half.
He also made a try-saving tackle on Kevin Penny moments before his decisive intervention at the other end.
Wakefield had eye-catching contributions across the team, not least from teenage full-back Max Jowitt, who has emerged as one of Super League’s brightest prospects this year.
He underlined his quality with a pass out of a tackle to Craig Hall for the opening try, after just seven minutes.
Stand-off Jacob Miller has also thrived under Chester. On seven minutes he created Wakefield’s second try with a clever pass which sent Matty Ashurst between the posts..
Joe Westerman touched down for Warrington, from a pass by Kurt Gidley, who added the conversion, but that was as good as it got for Warrington before the interval.
At the end of the third quarter, Hall intercepted Ben Westwood’s pass 40 metres out to go over for his second touchdown and seven minutes from the break did the same to Gidley before slipping a quick pass to Ashurst, who had pacy winger Tom Johnstone in support.
Liam Finn converted all four tries to send Wakefield in with a 24-6 half-time lead and the gap was increased almost immediately afterwards when the Miller-Ashurst combination struck again.
At 30-6 Wakefield were in complete command, but Clark scored a sparkling solo try, pace and footwork carrying him through the defence from 30 metres out and then Gidley finished strongly from close range.
He converted both and Warrington added a third in six minutes when Jordan Cox made an astonishing 80-metre charge from the re-start.
He was pulled down just short of the line by Jones-Bishop, who took too long to get off and was sin-binned.
From the penalty, 18-year-old substitute Morgan Smith – with his first touch in Super League – put Matty Russell over for an unconverted try which cut the gap to eight points with 27 minutes remaining.
Finn steadied Wakefield’s ship with a penalty goal when they were down to 12 men, but referee Chris Campbell, a former Warrington player who was making his Super League debut, got his card out again, banishing Anthony England and Gidley for fighting.
The penalty went to Warrington and from it Smith sent Westerman over and added the conversion to cut the gap to four points. These were nervous times.
When Danny Kirmond was yellow-carded for tripping Smith, a late winning try for Warrington seemed inevitable, but Wildcats dug deep and Jones-Bishop’s try was just reward for a magnificent team effort.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Jowitt, Jones-Bishop, Hall, Arundel, Johnstone, Miller, Finn, Scruton, Sio, Simon, Kirmond, Ashurst, Arona. Substitutes: Anderson, Annakin, England, A Tupou.
Warrington Wolves: Russell, Penny, Evans, Atkins, Lineham, Gidley, Currie, Hill, Clark, Sims, Jullien, Westwood, Westerman. Substitutes: Cox, Philbin, King, Smith.
Referee: C Campbell (Warrington).