McIntosh delighted as Wids make it perfect 10
LITTLEBOROUGH ................................... 17 WIDNES..................................................... 31
WIDNES secured their 10th straight win in all competitions to move themselves into fourth place in what is becoming an ultra-competitive ADM Premier Division.
They were more than good value for the victory, but they were pushed all the way by a Littleborough side who rallied late in the piece to score two tries despite the result having been confirmed much earlier.
And, whilst the visitors may not have been at their clinical best – the filthy conditions determining that this was never going to be a classic – they did enough to secure a bonus point win away from home which is all anyone can ask for.
In the wet and difficult conditions under dark, leaden skies, Widnes got the game underway and their defence was soon called into urgent action as Littleborough piled on some early pressure.
Successive penalties got the home side within reach, the second of which allowed stand-off Richard Taylor to kick his team into the lead.
Fortunately, Widnes were quickly in the mood to respond, and when the home side booted the ball out on the full, Tom O’Neill was on hand to pick up from the base of the scrum and crash over for a try which was converted by Kevin Leadbetter.
Displaying the kind of confidence that has seen them win all nine previous matches, the visitors were soon at it again.
This time, a long-range touch-finder enabled quick hands to release full-back Antony Leadbetter, who swivelled his way over the line for a try that gave his team a 12-3 advantage.
Littleborough then spoilt a great opportunity as they followed up an exciting kick-and-chase before obstructing a Widnes player as he attempted to retrieve the situation.
From there, Widnes were able to turn defence into attack, and Kevin Leadbetter’s deft chip ahead had the ‘ Boro defence in trouble as they were forced to touch down possession behind their own line.
From there, the Red-and-Blacks were able to turn the screw once more, as Matty Lawton crashed over the line for a try from close-range to increase their advantage to 14 points.
Littleborough did their best to respond, but time and again they were unable to find a way through the well- marshalled Widnes defence.
The remainder of the half was all a bit scrappy in the difficult conditions.
Both teams had opportunities, but a few poor choices mixed in with any number of handling errors and poor kicks out of hand, meant there was no further addition to the scoreboard as the half came to a close.
The second period began brightly for ‘Boro and they were soon camped out in the Widnes quarter once again, but they were simply unable to find a way through some watertight defence and an inability to keep hold of the greasy ball in contact.
A spot of handbags then earned both captains a stiff talking to from the referee before normal service was resumed.
At this point, it was beginning to look like Widnes were happy to settle for what they had, but on 58 minutes, the huffing and puffing stopped long enough for some crisp handling to send Tom Spencer on a 30 metre dash to the line for a bonus point try which was converted by Kevin Leadbetter.
Barely three minutes later, the excellent O’Neill – who was busy all afternoon in both attack and defence – made a midfield break before handing on to teammate Ryan Millington who scored underneath the posts. With Kevin Leadbetter again on target, the score had sud- ● ● denly moved on to 31-3.
After that, and with the result assured, it all began to go a bit pear shaped for the visitors.
Almost straight away they had a player sent to the sin-bin, and moments later a second player was invited to warm his heels on the touchline by the official.
With a two-player advantage, it was hardly surprising that the Wids defence was finally breached in the 77th minute as the home side went over for a converted try, before they were able to repeat the dose deep into stoppage-time with a second score which rounded off proceedings.
Speaking after the game, Widnes head coach, Andy McIntosh, said: “We are very pleased to get the victory.
“Our defence was very good and we managed the game well in the difficult conditions.
“We had a few standout performers in the pack and we finished our chances off well.”
He added: “We were disappointed to conceded two late tries when we had men in the bin, but it is another five points. We aim to keep building and playing to the plan.” ● In the other senior fixture, the seconds earned themselves a 7-7 draw with highflying Chester at Heath Road.
Widnes player Jamie Patient is hauled down by two Littleborough defenders during last Saturday’s game.
Full-back Antony Leadbetter on the charge for Widnes during their win against Littleborough.