SANDBACH snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in a disappointing encounter on Saturday.
The Bradwall Road outfit led by seven points with just five minutes left in their Euromanx South Lancs and Cheshire League division one clash. But individual errors and Wigan's never-say-die attitude led to a dramatic collapse and the visitors running out winners.
Sandbach started slowly and suffered an early blow when they lost Andy Rollings with a hamstring injury in the very first minute.
A quick reshuffle seemed to un-settle the hosts as they struggled to get their game going. Possession rarely resulted in a scoring chance, but frustration was eased when Lee Pickles opened hit a penalty.
But the experienced Wigan side were not to be denied for long and they hit back with a converted try scored by their speedy winger, who ran from deep and slipped past Sandbach's last line of defence.
A few harsh words were said at half-time and seemed to do the trick. The home side began to dominate and the visiting scrum-half was sin binned for consistent foul play.
Sandbach took advantage when Chris Davenport drove over after a scrum. Pickles converted and when Nick Jarman powered in his first try for the first team under the posts, the game seemed safe at 15-8 with just minutes on the clock.
But Tim Jones lost the ball in a tackle on his own 22-yard line and the game began to slip from Sand-bach's grasp. Wigan scored and converted a try to level the game and then looked for more.
They got it. A Sandbach kick for touch failed to reach its target and when the ball was chipped over the Sandbach back line, Wigan scored a try to gain a win which did not fairly reflect the play.
Vice-captain Chris Busby said: 'It was very, very disappointing and we are all gutted. We played well in the second half but silly mistakes and poor decisions cost us dearly.
'Our backs have won us so many games but they just didn't fizz. We must now do our best to forget this game and move on to the Cheshire Cup clash at Moore on Saturday.'
Sandbach's second team secured a convincing win against Wigan 2nds. Playing at home, they were helped to a 33-12 win by Chris Greenhalgh, who scored two conversions, two penalties and a drop goal. Ryan Phelps got a brace of tries while Tom Atkinson and John Edmunstone had one apiece.
The thirds lost at Buxton 25-10. Winger Dan Adams and flanker Jason Keeble scored the tries.