Wire fan Rob Watson gives his views on the Challenge Cup sixth-round win over Wigan Warriors by Warrington Wolves, all in the Spirit of 55.

A Challenge Cup tie – the first match of the season where a loss means a chance of winning one of the major trophies is gone.

That by itself makes it the biggest match of the season so far, especially when it is against the evil empire Wigan.

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It turned out to be one of those games that completely outdid the hype before-hand.

A classic struggle ensued where neither team were ever able to assert their dominance.

No doubt in the coming week the video analysis session will include plenty of things that could have been better, both in attack and defence, but The Wire are in the quarter-finals and Wigan are not.

The more games they can play of this intensity, the better a position they will be in to win the biggest games at the end of the season.

Wire took the lead with a brilliantly slick handling move to the left when close to the Wigan line.

Ratchford ghosted around the back and Currie found him with an accurate pass, then Ratchford’s catch and pass in one movement put Goodwin over in the corner.

Wigan will feel aggrieved for having a try chalked off after Leuluai dislodged the ball from Austin with a great tackle.

When their equalising try did come along there was some fortune about it as the ball bounced around all over the place and Powell eventually grounded the ball.

Wire took the lead again when they did well to spot Wigan down on numbers on the short side on the last tackle.

Ratchford again provided the final pass and Hughes did well to crash over from close range.

If I have to pay a compliment to Wigan it will be through gritted teeth – which is fitting as it is their grittiness that I would be praising. Leuluai’s try levelled the score again.

Wire’s three outstanding attacking players so far this season have no doubt been Austin, Ratchford and Daryl Clark.

While the Aussie half-back had one of his quietest games of the season, the other two were highly influential in this game.

Clark scored Wire’s next try with a breath-taking burst of speed from acting half-back to score from 30 yards or so while barely being touched by any Wigan player, to give Warrington a six-point lead at half time.

That try was somewhat a microcosm of Wire’s season so far, four strong runs down the middle, winning the collisions allowing Clark the space that he exploited so well. When they win the battle down the middle, Wire are proving to be incredibly difficult to stop.

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After a Wigan penalty goal, Atkins scored early on in the second half, the killer pass this time being provided by Patton who read the defence and his runners perfectly.

That gave Wire their biggest lead of the day, 10 points.

Again that grittiness came to the fore and Wigan somehow scraped themselves back level at 24-all with 20 minutes to go.

Wire responded well to those two tries and had the better of the last quarter of the game.

But all they had to show for that was a Ratchford penalty goal.

That two-point lead with around 12 minutes to go made for a very nervous end to the game.

The teams swapped knock-ons and Wire’s defence stood up to the test to hang on for an extremely hard-fought and important victory.