Despite a spirited, hard-working performance, Widnes Vikings were beaten 19-10 by Warrington Wolves in #TheBigOne.
The Vikings were the first team to post point on the scoreboard and happened within the first two minutes of the game. Warrington winger Matty Russell spilled the ball before contact coming out from his own line and the Vikings quickled shifted it to their left edge to Stefan Marsh, who managed to get in and score in the corner. Chris Bridge couldn’t convert from the touchline.
Tony Smith’s side though started to gain the ascendency and replied within five minutes through Tom Lineham. On the back of two penalties, Warrington moved the ball to the left and Ratchford’s nice cut-out pass found Lineham who had space to score in the corner. Patton also missed the conversion.
The away side continued to threaten the Vikings defence and were to break it through ex-Wigan Warriors man Jack Hughes. On the back of three penalties to get them into an attacking position, the second rower hit a short ball close to the Widnes line and managed to muscle over despite efforts from Vikings defenders. Dec Patton was able to add the extras.
The video referee was then to become a central figure in the game as firstly Ryan Atkins had looked to have scored on Warrington’s left edge. However, despite celebrations from the Warrington team and the referee giving the on-field decision as a try, it was ruled out for a knock on by the centre for a Vikings scrum.
James Child was called into action again just a minute later as Widnes turned over possession and were made to pay through Joe Philbin. The forward looked to have been tackled short of the line after powering onto a Kurt Gidley drop off, and Phil Bentham sent the decision up to the video referee as ‘no try’. However, the video referee had found sufficient evidence to overturn the decision and the try was awarded to Philbin. Dec Patton converted.
The third decision was involving Dec Patton, as he thought he had got on to the end of his own grubber kick to touch down before a Vikings defender had got a foot to the ball to knock it dead. The referee sent the decision upstairs as ‘no try’, and James Child agreed to give a goal line drop out.
Patton was to extend Warrington’s lead though shortly afterwards as the half back kicked a drop goal to extend the away side's lead at the break to 13 points.
Half-Time: Widnes Vikings 4-17 Warrington Wolves
The Vikings came out in the second half and were applying huge pressure on the Warrington line for the first ten minutes, and were eventually rewarded through Charly Runciman.
Denis Betts’ side won the ball back after contesting the Warrington scrum at the feed, and were rewarded shortly afterwards. The Vikings shifted the ball to their left edge, and a nice grubber kick from Chris Bridge in behind Warrington bounced perfectly for Runciman to collect and go over in the corner to close the gap. Chris Bridge added the extras from the touchline.
The Vikings were starting to gain the ascendency and would spend long periods camped on their opponents line, and would have scored through Armstrong had Lineham not got in the way of the final pass from Bridge to pat it down. Despite huge pressure, the Vikings couldn’t break through further and when Dec Patton added a penalty goal with three minutes to go, the Wolves would hang on to claim victory.
Full-Time: Widnes Vikings 10-19 Warrington Wolves
Widnes: Hanbury, Armstrong, Bridge, Runciman, Marsh, Mellor, Craven, Dudson, Johnstone, J. Chapelhow, Houston, Whitley, Brooks.
Replacements: Dean, Gerrard, Olbison, Burke.
Warrington: Ratchford, Russell, T. King, Atkins, Lineham, Patton, Gidley, Hill, Dwyer, Sims, Jullien, Hughes, G. King.
Replacements: Evans, Savelio, Philbin, Livett.
Referee: Phil Bentham