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A win for the Widnes Vikings, by more than twenty-two points, would send them top of Super League and condemn the Warrington Wolves to a third consecutive defeat at the start of the season. A win for the Wolves, by more than six points, would lift them into the top eight and get their season belatedly underway.

The Vikings have had a great start to the season with an opening weekend win over the Catalans Dragons, and a single point loss to the Castleford Tigers last week. Up the road in Warrington, teeth were already being gnashed after two consective defeats, coming on the back of an awful 2017 season.

On the artifical pitch at the Halton Stadium, it promised to be an intriguing early season match-up.

After absorbing some early pressure it was the Wolves who opened the scoring when Ryan Atkins took a Declan Patton chip to the corner, under pressure from the Vikings defence, to drop over the line. Bryson Goodwin failed to add the extras and it was 4-0 after eight minutes.

The second Wolves try was a walk in for Stefan Ratchford as he took a delightful pass from Ben Currie to step between the Widnes tacklers and go over without a hand being laid on him. Goodwin added the extras for 10-0 after fourteen.

Widnes got their opener on twenty-one on a repeat set of six when Krisnan Inu picked up a neat little Joe Mellor grubber to ground one-handed. The conversion was missed leaving the Vikings six adrift.

There was no further scoring action in the first half with both sides having opportunities that they couldn’t convert.

Warrington put Widnes under a lot of pressure early in the second half and on forty-five Ryan Atkins took a Ratchford high kick to drop over the line and ground. Goodwin added the conversion and the Wolves were pulling away at 16-4.

On fifty-three referee Bentham was clattered into by Chris Houston and he had to be helped from the field. Scott Mikalauskas, the reserve referee, picked up the whistle and took over in the middle.

A fifty-fifth minute Wolves penalty was kicked from twenty metres out by Goodwin to leave Widnes needing three converted tries to snatch a victory.

Just before the hour mark Jack Hughes appeared to have scored a breakaway try but with pushing and shoving going on in back play the referee pulled play back and penalised Ratchford for running in to get involved. It was a reprieve for the Vikings.

Tempers were fraying with the referee lecturing both captains for a second time on sixty-two. On sixty-four Inu found his way to the line for his second try of the night after taking a Mellor cross-field kick to evade the tacklers and dive over. Tom Gilmore added the conversion for 10-18 with fourteen minutes remaining.

A brilliant Ratchford strip on Jay Chapelhow, as he was in the act of scoring, saved a certain try which would have set some nerves jangling.

A superb Danny Craven break and pass inside to Olly Ashall-Bott saw Mike Cooper scrambling back to commit a professional foul for holding down and be shown the yellow card by the referee, leaving his team mates to finish the game with twelve men.

Widnes did have chances to get closer to the Wolves score but couldn’t find a way through their strong defence.

Warrington will be delighted to get their seasons scoring underway at last with an important two points. It wasn’t the prettiest of encounters and at times bad tempers spilled over into bouts of pushing and shoving. Points are points, and they are very precious at these early stages of the season. The players and coaching staff from the Wolves will take them where they can get them.

Vikings: Hanbury, March, Inu (2T), Whitley, Ashall-Bott, Mellor, Gilmore (G), Chapelhow, Heremaia, Cahill, Dean, Wilde, Houston.  Subs: Walker, Burke, Craven, Olbison.

Wolves: Ratchford (T), Lineham, Goodwin (3G), Atkins (2T), Russell, Brown, Patton, Hill, Clark, Cooper (SB on 71), Currie, Hughes, Westwood.  Subs: Crosby, Smith, Philbin, Murdoch-Masila.

Referee: Phil Bentham, Scott Mikalauskas (from the 53rd Minute).

Half-Time: 4-10.

Full-Time: 10-18.

Attendance: 7,009.



Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 16th Feb 2018 9:37 PM | Views : 4181 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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