Warrington Wolves claimed their first victory of the season by grinding out an 18-10 win against local rivals Widnes Vikings.
Widnes coach Denis Betts made two changes to his side that narrowly lost at Castleford Tigers last week. Aaron Heremaia and Danny Craven came in to replace Charly Runciman and Wellington Albert.
Dom Crosby made his first appearance in nine months following a long injury lay-off and he replaced George King in Steve Price’s Warrington outfit.
Warrington started the game well and scored the opening try of the game inside eight minutes at the Halton Stadium. Ryan Atkins jumped high to collect a chip from Declan Patton to touch down. Bryson Goodwin couldn’t convert but the Wolves were 4-0 up.
The visitors were playing at a quick pace and it was troubling Widnes. Warrington scored their second five minutes later when Stefan Ratchford steamed onto a short ball from Ben Currie to go over. Goodwin made no mistake with the conversion this time and Price’s men were 10-0 to the good.
Krisnan Inu pulled one back for the Vikings though midway through the first half. The centre pounced on a lovely little grubber from Joe Mellor to score. Tom Gilmore’s conversion attempt went just wide of the mark, Widnes trailed 10-4.
Widnes starlet Olly Ashall-Bott impressed in his first team debut against Castleford last week and was a real livewire in the first half against Warrington. He won a couple of penalties for his side in the first half and has an immense burst of pace.
Joe Philbin had to leave the field in the 35th minute for a concussion assessment but did not return. His head clashed with Hep Cahill’s shoulder.
The Wolves led 10-4 at the break following an entertaining first half from both sides.
Warrington started the second half like they did in the first, with a try on the board not long after the kick-off. Atkins got his second as he got on the end of a cross-field kick from Ratchford. Goodwin’s boot took the score to 16-4 in favour of the visitors.
Something strange happened in the 54th minute. Widnes star Chris Houston collided with referee Phil Bentham and was put on report. Bentham left the field and was replaced by the reserve referee.
The away side extended their lead in the following set. Warrington were awarded a penalty 10 metres away from the Widnes line and opted to take the two. Goodwin added the penalty goal to put his side in an 18-4 advantage.
Inu brought the game back to life when he went over in the 65th minute. He cottoned onto a fine chip from Gilmore to go over. Gilmore converted, Widnes 10-18 Warrington.
With eight minutes remaining, Warrington’s Mike Cooper was sent to the sin bin after committing a professional foul in holding Olly Ashall-Bott down for too long.
Widnes won a few penalties near the Warrington line in the final 10 minutes but nothing came from it as the Wolves claimed an 18-10 win – their first victory of the season.
Widnes: 1 Hanbury; 2 Marsh, 3 Inu, 12 Whitley, 27 Ashall-Bott; 6 Mellor, 7 Gilmore; 25 J Chapelhow, 33 Heremaia, 13 Cahill; 14 Dean, 17 Wilde; 11 Houston. Subs: 23 D Walker, 19 Burke, 15 Craven, 16 Olbison.
Warrington: 1 Ratchford; 2 Lineham, 3 Goodwin, 4 Atkins, 5 Russell; 6 Brown, 15 Patton; 8 Hill, 9 Clark, 10 Cooper; 11 Currie, 12 Hughes; 34 Westwood. Subs: 14 Crosby, 22 Smith, 13 Murdoch-Masila, 17 Philbin.
Starman: Stefan Ratchford – he was solid in both attack and defence all game.