Warrington Wolves 16
Tries: Currie 2, T King
Goals: O’Brien 2/2, Ratchford 0/1
Widnes Vikings 0
Sin Bin: Phelps, Manuokafoa, Mellor
At the second time of asking the annual pre-season derby between Warrington Wolves and Widnes Vikings went ahead on a cold and wet Wednesday night at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, with the hosts Warrington running out 16-0 winners.
Widnes’ indiscipline cost them dearly as they saw three of their players spend time in the sin bin, the first of which was Cameron Phelps who held onto a Wolves player for too long as he attempted a quick play the ball after they had broken the defensive line.
The poor conditions were reflected on the field as the game was littered with errors and simple rugby being played. It was very much a battle of the forwards with Widnes’ smaller pack putting up a good fight although Anthony England and Ashton Sims had some joy for the Wolves going forward.
With stars from both sides missing it was never going to be a classic derby match but it was still a tough encounter which threatened to erupt on a number of occasions and youngsters from both sides impressed in a tough match.
The game started with big hits going in from either side as the they both made it clear that there is nothing ‘friendly’ about these two teams meeting.
Widnes were defending well until fullback Mathew Russell found a gap in the Vikings defence and started a break which ended in the sin binning of Phelps. With the next set the home side made their one man advantage count with Ben Currie crashing over and Gareth O’Brien converting for a 6-0 lead.
The away side defended doggedly but were too simple in attack until Chris Dean made a half break and fed the on rushing Jack Owens with an offload. He then found the returning Phelps who tried to find his winger however miscommunication between him and Patrick Ah Van saw the ball sail into touch instead of his hands for a certain try.
Manase Manuokafoa came on for his debut and made a dent in the opposition pack but he spent the rest of the half in the bin when his late shot was deemed worthy of a yellow card.
Once again Wire took advantage of the 12 men with Currie muscling his way over for a second try as he timed his run onto a short ball perfectly. O’Brien knocked over the conversion to make it 12-0.
Paddy Flynn made sure the score remained 12-0 at half-time with a try saving tackle on Kevin Penny in the corner to force the ex-Viking into touch.
The second half saw some youngsters enter the fray as both coaches experimented with different combinations although the pattern of the game didn’t change with the battle down the middle still taking place.
It wasn’t until Gareth O’Brien raced 70-metres from his own try line late in the half that any real threat was made and he looked certain to score, but for a lung busting run from Joe Mellor to halt him short of the try line. Unfortunately for Mellor he held O’Brien down too long whilst waiting for his team mates to retreat which completed a hat-trick of yellow cards for his side.
Soon after Mellor’s dismissal the game was wrapped up when Warrington outnumber Widnes on their right edge and Toby King was able to find a gap before reaching over for an unconverted try to complete a 16-0 defeat of their local rivals.