Wigan Warriors
The DW Stadium

Ground No. 5
Visited - Sunday 18th June 2006
Result - Wigan Warriors 24-18 Catalans Dragons
Competition - Super League
Attendance - 11,250

Thanks to Sky TV switching Wigan’s home game against Catalans Dragons to a Sunday evening, it gave me the opportunity to see two matches in one day. The first one had been at Hilton Park, with Leigh defeating Workington 62-12, so after having seen that match, and being on my way back to Wigan to get the train home, I decided instead of catching the early train, I’d stay for a couple of hours and take in the second match.

Unfortunately, the last time that I visited the JJB Stadium, I hadn’t really come away with the greatest of impressions, so this time I was hoping that seeing the Rugby team would be a better experience than their football counterparts.

As with many new grounds the JJB is built adjacent to a retail park, and it was a familiar route that I walked up from the town centre. Last time I visited was for a night match in January, so it had been pitch black, which meant that this was the first time I had really been able to have a good look at the ground from the outside. All four stands have been constructed in a similar style, with a lower of half of bricks, topped by grey metal cladding. The only real focal point was the Main Reception which had a huge JJB sign that spun round sitting on top of it!

After having taken enough pictures, I went off to buy a ticket, choosing to sit in the same stand as before, the East Stand. Having found the turnstiles and gone in, inside was exactly as I’d remembered it. All four stands were of similar design, with the East and West Stands mirrored, whilst the North and South Stands behind the posts were slightly different than the two sides, but exactly the same as each other. The only apparent difference from last time was that a videowall had been erected in the North-East corner of the ground.

Having found my seat, it wasn’t long before the game got underway, with the home side really needing to look for a win to steer them clear of relegation threats, but it all started to go wrong, when after just one minute Catalans broke the deadlock, following a knock-on from a Wigan player which gave them the possession close to Wigan’s line, with Chris Beattie managing to go over with little resistance. The try was converted giving the French side a 6-0 lead, but it was Wigan who came back at the visitors, pulling level on 14 minutes after good work by Mickey Higham down the Warriors left hand side. Dobson got the conversion to make it 6-6. Unfortunately, both sides were making a lot of mistakes with the handling of the ball, and Catalans missed the chance of retaking the lead several minutes later after another knock-on, and so it was Wigan who made it 10-6 with a good try by Nathan McAvoy. Dobson again converted, but the visitors soon drew level after another mistake, this time with Pat Richards misjudging a bounce of the ball, which let in Bruno Verges to gather and race home over the line. Stacey Jones converted to put the scores level again, but it was Wigan who would go into half-time in the lead, with Michael Dobson successfully kicking two penalties to make it 16-12 at the break.

In the second half, it was much the same with mistakes aplenty, and it only took 10 minutes before Dobson had the chance to kick his third penalty of the evening. Wigan made it 24-12 on 60 minutes with Fletcher’s try once again being converted by the impressive Dobson, but it was the Catalans who had the final say when Pat Richards made another crucial mistake, letting in John Wilson to get the try, which was converted by Lauren Frayssinous, which made it a nervy finish for the home side, but they managed to hang on for what could prove a vital victory. 

Unfortunately, it hadn’t really been the best of games, with the seemingly constant mistakes really making it a bit scrappy, so that was a bit of a disappointment, but the home fans didn’t seem too bothered about that, grateful for what was only their third win of the season.

After leaving the ground, I quickly made my way back to the station, and didn’t have too long to wait for the train homewards.

Overall, I was glad that I’d decided not to go straight home after Leigh. Whilst the JJB Stadium might not be at the top of my favourites list, it certainly seemed better than when I had visited previously to see a football match, so no doubt I’ll probably find my way back up there again one of the days.

The West Stand Reception

Rear of the West Stand

Rear of the North Stand

Rear of the East Stand

Rear of the South Stand

The South Stand

The West Stand

The North Stand

The North Stand (closed for the game)

The West Stand

The South Stand

The DW Stadium Panoramic 1

The DW Stadium Panoramic 2
08/02/09 - Wigan Warriors 6-12 Wakefield Trinity Wildcats

The DW Stadium Panoramic 3
07/03/09 - Wigan Warriors 44-10 Bradford Bulls

The DW Stadium Panoramic 4
12/09/10 - Wigan Warriors 26-27 Leeds Rhinos

The DW Stadium Panoramic 5
12/09/10 - Wigan Warriors 26-27 Leeds Rhinos

The DW Stadium Panoramic 6
12/09/10 - Wigan Warriors 26-27 Leeds Rhinos

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