The drinks were being poured in the last chance saloon and the fat lady was going through her scales as Wakefield Trinity welcomed the London Broncos for the last game of the regular Super League season. It would be a devastating Friday 13th for one of four sides, and both of tonights opponents were in the mix.
While the maths were far from simple, a win for either side guaranteed them safety and a 2020 season playing the Super League. Wakefield would be safe, even if they sustain a loss, providing one of either Huddersfield (v. The Catalans Dragons) or Hull KR (v. Salford Red Devils) also lost their game tonight.
It was bound to be a nerve tingling night for the supporters of all four clubs in danger of the drop.
The opening exchanges were scrappy and nervy with both sides making early errors.
Danny Brough opened the scoring for Trinity with a twenty metre penalty goal after twelve minutes and within two minutes the scores should have been level after a lying on penalty allowed Kieron Dixon a simple penalty but he was unable to slot the ball between the uprights.
Dixon had a chance to ground a kick to the corner on seventeen but couldn’t gather the ball. Two minutes later Ben Jones-Bishop knocked on while taking a high kick to the corner and although he recovered to ground the ball the video referee agreed with referee Hicks that it was a No Try.
On twenty-three minutes Morgan Escare slipped out a pass to Ryan Hampshire after Hampshire had tapped back a high kick to the corner. Brough added the goal from wide on the touchline for an 8-0 lead.
Four minutes after the restart Hampshire bagged his second try of the game after taking a looping Jacob Miller pass to ground by the left hand corner flag. Brough kicked a touchline conversion as Wakefield edged towards safety.
Dixon was unable to ground a kick to the corner on fifty-one, London unable to take their chances. Two minutes later Reece Lyne reacted the quickest to ground a Brough grubber kick to the corner. Brough was unable to add the conversion, Wakefield 18-0 ahead.
A sixty-seventh minute Danny Brough drop goal removed any doubt for the Wakefield side and guaranteed the win which sealed survival and sent the London Broncos down into the Betfred Championship.
With nine minutes remaining Alex Walker persevered and pushed his way through the defence to spin over the line and ground. Dixon was unable to add the extras, the Broncos behind by 4-19.
Ryan Hampshire was sin-binned on seventy-nine for a professional foul and within thirty second Brock Lamb managed to lunge for the line and get the ball on the ground. Dixon added the goal but with only ten seconds left it was all over and Trinity had a 19-10 win.
After a brave season where they have made many friends and upset a few pundits as they took it down to the last game of the season and almost performed a moracle and survived. The emotions were the exact opposite for Wakefield who scored the all important victory and managed to survive a season which had started to well for them. The closest end of season in recent memory had a nail-biting finale and it was Wakefield Trinity who will be opening the champage.
Trinity: Escare, Jones-Bishop, Lyne (T), Atkins, Hampshire (2T, SB on 78)), Miller, Brough (3G, DG), Kopczak, Randell, Tangata, Kirmond, Tanginoa, Crowther. Subs: Wood, Green, King, Arundel.
Broncos: Walker (T), Dixon (G), Morgan, Kear, Williams, Abdull, Lamb (T), Battye, Cunningham, Butler, Gee, Pitts, Yates. Subs: Fozard, Mason, Hindmarsh, Lovell.
Referee: Rob Hicks.