Widnes too strong for Aldwinians once more
WIDNES..................................................... 28 ALDWINIANS........................................... 17
WIDNES beat Aldwinians for the second time in three weeks to maintain their unbeaten run which now stretches to six games.
And, it gives them a huge psychological advantage, when the two go head-tohead again in Saturday’s Lancashire Trophy semi-final.
This was a real top notch performance from the home side, who turned in their best defensive display of the season, before hitting their opponents where it really hurt – on the scoreboard – as they turned defence into attack to score four outstanding tries.
The visitors, on the other hand, will have been left wondering how on earth they managed to lose the game, despite having most of the field position as well as 70% of the possession.
All in all then, it all sets the scene nicely for this weekend’s third encounter between the pair in a ‘winner takes all’ cup game at Audenshaw Park.
Under dark, leaden skies and a strong blustery wind to contend with, Kevin Leadbetter got this ADM Premier League fixture underway, but it was not long before the visitors were quickly into their stride before converting a fifth minute penalty from Tom Hughes to take an early lead.
That early pressure continued deep in the Widnes quarter of the field, and the home side had to be at their very best in defence to deny their opponents a tryscoring opportunity.
At this point, the home side continued to be ‘out-enthused’ by their Manchester opponents forcing the Red-and-Blacks to live off just scraps of possession.
As the half-hour mark approached Widnes finally received a welcome relieving penalty which allowed them to camp out close to their opponents’ line.
There may have been a touch of luck as Widnes wrestled back possession, but none of that bothered arch predator and top tryscorer, Arnie Haydock who crashed over from close-range for another of his trademark tries.
With full-back Andy Owens also add- ● ing the conversion from wide out, the home XV now held a 7-3 advantage.
Things potentially took a turn for the worse, though, just a few minutes later as a Widnes player then received a yellow card.
Their situation was not helped either by an injury to Liam Lawton which forced the centre to leave the field – all of which meant a major re-shuffle of personnel in the run up to half-time.
Aldwinians used the opportunity to try to ram home their numerical advantage as they looked to get their noses back in front once again.
But somehow, it was the home side that were suddenly able to break free of their defensive shackles through manof-the-match Ryan Millington, before Josh Kenyon’s deft chip over the top was swooped upon by Owens who touched down.
If that was not bad enough for the visitors, the same player then booted over another outstanding conversion from wide out to send his team in at the break leading by 14-3.
The try was a real sickener for the visitors, and they needed a really positive start to the second stanza if they had ambitions to rescue anything from the game. Indeed, that came after just 10 minutes as Michael Singleton crashed over for a try which was converted by full-back Hughes.
At 14-10, the final outcome of this game was back in the melting pot once again.
This time, though, it was the home side’s turn to show their bottle, as they turned defence into attack once more in a blind side move that saw some excellent handling end with a superb try from Millington. Owens was again on target with the extras as normal service was resumed.
Shortly afterwards, more quick, crisp handling involving both backs and forwards, ended with Kevin Leadbetter handing on to that man Owens who was in support to score his second try of the afternoon before again tacking on the difficult conversion.
At 28-10, it was all but game over, but there was still time for the official to award the visitors a penalty try which reduced the deficit to 11 points.
The last few minutes were all a bit scrappy as the referee awarded a handful of penalties to the away team. But, there was to be no fairytale finish, and no further additions to the scoreboard as the home side went on to claim a sixth successive victory. ● There were contrasting emotions for the other senior teams. The seconds went down to Liverpool Collegiate who booted over a last gasp penalty to claim the spoils in Division Two South. The thirds, meanwhile, earned a real feather in their cap, as they beat Wallasey’s firstteam in Division Four West of the Halbro League. ● To coin an Alan Patridge phrase, it is a case of ‘knowing me, knowing you’, as Widnes and Aldwinians meet for the second week in a row – and the third time this season – in Saturday’s crunch semi-final of the Lancashire Plate.
Currently, the aggregate score is 2-0 to the Wids, but this game will be anything but a walkover as the Red-and-Blacks attempt to reach the final of a competition they won back in 2012.
Despite losing again, the host team looked a much improved outfit last weekend, and it was easy to see how they had managed to turn over former league leaders Oldham the previous Saturday.
Widnes, though, should have nothing to fear, and with several players due to return after missing the last game to add some depth to their squad, they will head off to Audenshaw Park in confident mood. The game kicks-off at 2.15pm. ●
Antony Leadbetter attempts to find a way through the Aldwinians’ defensive line.
Widnes’s man-of-the-match Ryan Millington races in for a five-pointer against Aldwinians.