Widnes Vikings climbed off the bottom of the Super League table with a comfortable victory over Leigh Centurions, making it three wins from their last four outings.
Getting bodies back
It’s been a tough year for Widnes Vikings, as they have struggled to put points on the board and look destined to finish in the bottom four. A big reason for their lack of form has been the amount of injuries they have picked up this season, however the return of some key players has seen their performances improve. Joe Mellor returned at halfback and gained some valuable game time, while Eamon O’Carroll made a big impact in the middle and Chris Bridge was exceptional at centre. If they can keep a consistent 17 at the back end of the season they should finish strong and maintain their Super League status.
Bridge shows his class
Although Sky Sports awarded Chris Houston the man of the match award for his two try display, from the stands it looked as though Bridge was the best player on the field. He always looked capable of creating something when he gained possession, and came up with a brilliant finish to open the scoring. He also came up with a break which led to Ryan Ince’s try, and was also solid in defence on the right edge. A fan called for a rethink on the former Warrington Wolves’ star’s decision to retire at the end of the season, however he remained strong in his stance of this being his final year.
— Garry (@GarryBerryman) June 22, 2017
Haha not a chance mind and body is done
— Chris bridge (@Bridgey_1984) June 22, 2017
One area of the field you have to be strong in when facing Leigh Centurions is the middle of the park, as they have some strong and explosive forwards in their squad. Glenn Stewart, Dayne Weston, Atela Vea and Harrison Hansen are all tricky to deal with, so credit to the Vikings pack who outdone their opposite numbers throughout. O’Carroll impressed on his return, with Jack Buchanan and Gil Dudson setting the tone early on in the front row. Matt Whitley and Houston were good in attack while Hep Cahill was his usual reliable self. The hosts seemed to want it more and were committed in their defence, which played a big part in their victory.
One of the moments of the game was Rangi Chase’s try assist for Houston’s first of the evening, as he dropped the ball off and continued on his run which bamboozled the Centurions defence. As a result his Australian team mate strolled over for the try, as once again the on-loan halfback showed his class in a black and white jersey. Chase’s acquisition seems to be just what Denis Betts’ side needed and his combinations seem to be coming on stronger week by week. He has linked up well with Rhys Hanbury in recent weeks however Danny Craven stood in at fullback this time out and didn’t look out of place. The two combined well a number of times, showing Rangi’s class and the versatility of Craven who has stood up and took his chance this season.
Widnes Vikings 36
Tries: Bridge, Houston 2, Thompson 2, Ince, Whitley
Goals: Bridge 3, Craven 1
Leigh Centurions 10
Tries: Rawsthorne, Vea
Goals: Drinkwater 1