England A 22 Wales 4 MATT DISKIN enhanced his growing reputation as a future Great Britain hooker with two tries as England A booked their place in the final of the European Nations Cup with a scrappy victory over Wales.
The Leeds hooker ran all of three feet in total to claim a try in each half of a dour match which saw England A struggle to live up to the standards they had set in a narrow defeat by Australia and a 102-0 demolition of Russia.
The win, in front of another sparse crowd, sets up a final with France at Warrington on Sunday, when England A coach John Kear will be looking for greater cohesion and organisation.
"It was difficult for either team to build any momentum but I'm pleased with the result, if only because it means that we have achieved what we set out to achieve by reaching the final," said Kear.
Wales, missing their veteran duo Kevin Ellis and Allan Bateman, stuck gamely to their task, but their team of players drawn from the fringes of Super League, National League clubs and the summer conference never seemed likely to bridge the gulf in class.
England A started well with two tries in the opening quarter but struggled to keep to the plot over the ensuing hour with only Wigan second row Danny Tickle doing enough to suggest he is ready to make the step up.
Tickle played a key role in England's second try, his pass finding Jamie Rooney for the Wakefield half-back to put Ade Gardner in, and the former Halifax forward looked to have set up a score when he released Rob Burrow just before the interval only for the scrum-half to lose the ball as he went over the line.
Tickle also added the goal to the opening try from Diskin, who had the simple task of falling on a loose ball after a low kick from Burrow had rebounded off a Wales defender as he attempted to shepherd it into touch.
Welsh hopes were raised briefly when a tricky kick by hooker Ian Watson enabled Mark Lennon to touch down.
The inexperience of some of the Wales players proved costly on 48 minutes when, with David Mills and Gardner trading punches in back play, they were fatally distracted for Danny McGuire to race in unopposed from halfway for a try goaled by Tickle.
Another Welsh error from a kick by Diskin gifted the Leeds player another soft try to complete the scoring.
England A: Sykes (London); Pryce (Castleford), Aspinwall (Wigan), Reardon (Bradford), Gardner (St Helens); Rooney (Wakefield), Burrow (Leeds); Lynch (Castleford(), Diskin (Leeds), Parker (Bradford), Tickle (Wigan), Hock (Wigan), O'Loughlin (Wigan). Substitutes: McGuire (Leeds), Sibbit (Warrington), Clayton (Castleford), Sculthorpe (Wigan).
Wales: Gibson (Castleford); O'Hare (Huddersfield), Tassell (Swinton), Hughes (Widnes), Woodard (Bedford Bulls); James (Widnes), Lennon (Manly); Roberts (unat), Watson (Rochdale), Farrell (Widnes), Morgan (Toulouse), Atcheson (Widnes), Morley (Leigh). Substitutes: Aston (Hull KR), Mills (Widnes), Price (Rochdale), James (Sheffield).
Referee: T Alibert (France).