Widnes Vikings made it two wins from two by recording a 24-36 victory over Toulouse Olympique at the Stade Ernest Argeles.
The Vikings started the stronger, and posted the first points of the afternoon as Liam Hood opened the scoring. Joe Lyons’ grubber kick into the in-goal was deflected by a Toulouse defender, and Hood was the quickest of all to get to the loose ball and touch down. Jack Owens added the extras.
The home side rallied, and Dean Parata levelled up the scores on the 15 minute mark. Parata darted out from dummy half, broke the Widnes defence and was able to force his way over from close range. Mark Kheirallah converted the try.
Four minutes later, and Toulouse took the lead as Stan Robin grabbed his first of the afternoon. The French side shifted the ball to their left edge, and Ford put Robin into a gap to touch down.
The lead for the French did not last for long as Ted Chapelhow put the Vikings level just past the twenty minute mark. Liam Hood, scorer of the first try, darted out from dummy half and fired a cut-out pass at the line for Ted to barge over under the sticks from close range. Jack Owens converted the try.
Stan Robin grabbed his second of the afternoon with a nice finish. Marcon broke down the right for Toulouse, placed a nice kick over the top of Jack Owens and Robin was able to ground the ball with it looking likely to run dead. Mark Kheirallah converted to hand the home side a six point advantage.
The Vikings had the last say of the first half, and reduced that lead through Anthony Gelling. Kieron Purtill’s side shifted the ball nicely to their right edge to Gelling, and the Cook Islander was able to beat two defenders to touch down. Jack Owens missed a tough touchline conversion.
The Vikings came out of the blocks flying in the second half, and almost re-took the lead. Anthony Gelling made a superb break down-field, kicked through for Ashall-Bott but Olly was pushed off-the-ball, resulting in a penalty. Jack Owens converted the penalty to level up the scores.
Three minutes later, Danny Craven put the Vikings back in front with a nice finish on the left hand side. The try was finished by Craven, but Olly Ashall-Bott did the ground work on the play before. Taking the ball on his own 10 metre-line, Olly broke a tackler to make 70 metres down-field before being tackled. The Vikings moved the ball to their left edge, and Craven broke the line to go over. Jack Owens converted the try to stretch the lead to six.
The game ebbed and flowed, with both sides looking to add to their scores, and it was the away side that posted the next points through the boot of Jack Owens on the back of a ball-strip close to the Toulouse line. Owens converted the penalty and gave the Vikings an eight-point lead.
Four minutes later, and Ryan Ince finished a superb move from the Vikings to push the away side further in front. Anthony Gelling went at the line, got his arm free to release Johnstone into space. The young hooker drew in Kheirallah superbly before feeding Ince to go over in the right corner. Jack Owens converted the try to give the Vikings 14-point buffer.
Toulouse refused to give in, and Stan Robin grabbed his hat-trick score with five minutes to go to set up a tense finish. The half back hit a short pass from Johnathan Ford to reduce the lead to 8, with Kheirallah’s conversion.
The Vikings sealed victory with two minutes left as Anthony Gelling took a short drop-out, span away from a defender and went over for his second. Anthony finished the afternoon’s work for the Vikings by doing his Vikings celebration, picking up the corner flag and running towards the away bench with his teammates in pursuit. Jack Owens missed the conversion, but the Vikings claimed their second win in fantastic fashion.