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Page last updated at 21:23 GMT, Friday, 3 September 2010 22:23 UK

Wigan Warriors 34-12 Bradford Bulls

Wigan (20) 34
Tries: Carmont, Paleaaesina, J Tomkins, Richards 2, Goulding 2
Goals: Richards 3

Bradford (0) 12
Tries: Kopczak, Lynch
Goals: Sykes, Menzies

Pat Richards
Pat Richards' haul of 29 tries is the third best in a Super League season

Prolific Pat Richards could only equal the Super League points scoring record for a season as leaders Wigan rounded off their league campaign in style.

The goal-kicking winger had a rare off day with the boot, landing just three out of seven in Wigan's 34-12 win.

But he still grabbed two tries to make it 29 for the season and reach the 14 points he needed to match the record of 388 set by Andy Farrell in 2001.

The first of them helped overhaul Kris Radlinski's club record of 28 tries.

And his second try after the break took him to third in the overall Super League list for top try scorers in a season behind Bradford's Lesley Vainikolo and Leeds' Danny McGuire, who notched up 36 and 35 respectively in 2004.

On the night when Wigan were presented with their first League Leaders' Shield in 10 years, Richards' exploits were witnessed by a 17,058 crowd at the DW Stadium, lifting Wigan past the 200,000 gate mark for the season, which overtakes Leeds as the best supported club in the league.

It was also revenge for the first of Wigan's five league defeats this season at Odsal back in March, when Bradford came from 20-0 down at half-time to win 22-20.

It was also 20-0 at half-time in this one but, despite some shoddy second-half errors, there was never any danger of a repeat capitulation as Wigan warmed up for next weekend's play-off opener.

It took 16 minutes for Wigan's early pressure to pay off when second-rower Liam Farrell spun out of a tackle and created the space for centre George Carmont to go over for the game's first touchdown, Richards duly opening his account for the night.

Bradford were determined not to roll over and certainly did not resemble a team that had won for the first time in 13 matches against Wakefield last weekend.

But the Bulls could not match the cutting edge of the table-toppers, who ran in a second try after 27 minutes, fashioned by two men who are to leave at the end of the season, a determined charge from hooker Mark Riddell creating the position for replacement prop Iafeta Paleaaesina to romp over for a popular score, also improved by Richards.

There was an even more popular score seven minutes before the break when skipper Sean O'Loughlin's long pass found Richards unmarked and he sailed over for his 28th try of the season.

But he could not convert his own try, the Australian-born Ireland international's kick bouncing back off an upright.

And he was also off target when second-rower Joel Tomkins grabbed Wigan's fourth try two minutes from the interval courtesy of a solo charge for the line.

But there was no keeping Richards out of the action.

He struck for a second try just 60 seconds after the re-start, collecting Paul Deacon's precision chip to the corner and juggling with the ball before planting it over the line.

Richards could have had a hat-trick after 50 minutes after being sent clear by Carmont but he unselfishly passed inside to the supporting Farrell only to see the second-rower drop the ball, symptomatic of a slipshod performance in the second half which will cause a touch of concern for coach Michael Maguire as his side prepare for the play-offs.

At least Wigan continued to create chances, right winger Darrell Goulding taking Thomas Leuluai's cut-out pass on 68 minutes to score his side's sixth try, Richards adding the conversion to equal Farrell's record.

Battling Bradford pulled a try back six minutes from the end through Craig Kopczak, goaled by Paul Sykes, but Richards had one more chance to break the record when Goulding went over for his second of the night and his 25th of the season.

The crowd went silent as Richards lined up the conversion but it went agonisingly wide of the target ("I thought the touchjudges might have just given it to me anyway," he joked) to leave him sharing the record.

The Bulls then had the final say when skipper Andy Lynch grabbed a consolation try.

Steve Menzies was given the opportunity to mark his final appearance for the club with the goal and he duly obliged.

Wigan winger Pat Richards said:

"My kicking was off a bit. It was down to a lot of things - my head wasn't right, I'm not sure.

"Off the boot I thought that last one was there but then it started changing direction.

"It's great to be mentioned up there with Andy Farrell but I'm actually glad it's over. With all the talk about the record, I can just concentrate on my job now.

Wigan coach Michael Maguire said:

"It means hell of a lot to receive the shield in front of the fans. They've been very loyal and it's great to be able to give something back.

"The boys have laid an extremely good platform throughout the year. We're getting quite a number of players back fit so there is no reason why can't go on and win the big one. It's just a matter of continually doing what we've been doing."

Bradford caretaker coach Lee St Hilaire said:

"They fought right to the end against a very good Wigan outfit who are ruthless and hungry.

"They tried their hardest but trying against against a side like Wigan isn't enough. You have to have a cutting edge as well.

"Steve Menzies has been immense for the club. I wish him all the best in whatever he does."

Wigan: S Tomkins, Goulding, Marsh, Carmont, Richards, Deacon, Leuluai, Fielden, Riddell, Coley, Farrell, J Tomkins, O'Loughlin.
Replacements: Gleeson, Prescott, Tuson, Paleaaesina.

Bradford: Platt, Sheriffe, Sykes, Menzies, Finigan, Kearney, L'Estrange, Scruton, Godwin, Lynch, Worrincy, Whitehead, Langley.
Replacements: Hall, Addy, Kopczak, Olbison.

Referee: James Child (Dewsbury).

Attendance: 17,058.

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see also
Hull KR 18-38 Wigan
22 Aug 10 |  My Club
Bradford 38-28 Wakefield
22 Aug 10 |  My Club
Bradford 22-20 Wigan
05 Mar 10 |  My Club
Rugby League on the BBC
15 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Rugby league commentaries
03 Apr 10 |  Rugby League

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