Valvoline Cup: Vikings U20s 18 - Giants U20s 44
Sunday 12th February 2012
Jack Smith offloads the ball for the Vikings
Valvoline Cup match report: Vikings U20s 18 - Giants U20s 44
Match report by John Sheridan and image by Ste Jones
Whilst the i-pitch came to the rescue with the game being switched from Huddersfield, Widnes were unable to make the most of home advantage as an excellent second half display by the Giants took the spoils on a freezing cold afternoon.
Widnes started the game in explosive fashion with the forwards making good yards into the Huddersfield half and the backs then created the opening score after only 1 ½ minutes when Owens and Livesey combined to put Luke Willings over in the corner. Jack Owens landed a great touchline conversion and Widnes held an early 6-0 lead.
Huddersfield were next to have a scoring opportunity but after a good break by Bradbury his pass went behind Walker and into touch. From the resulting scrum, enterprising play took Widnes over the half way line however a knock on ended the move and after the Giants were awarded a penalty, influential stand off Ben Whitehead dummied and went over for his sides opening try. He then converted his own try to level the scores after eight minutes.
Despite having a bright opening Widnes were starting to look less composed than their visitors and it was no surprise when Huddersfield stretched their lead. Good handling from Murphy and Farrell down the Widnes right, put Walker over and Whitehead landed his second goal to make it 12-6. Having tasted success down that side of the field the Giants continued to press the Widnes left hand side and only desperate defence kept them out. When Widnes did venture into the opposition half they let themselves down with poor passing and handling. They did manage to force a drop out after 22 minutes but failed to capitalise on their good position. Brad Davies and Alex Gerrard were both hauled down just five metres from the line but a try just didn't look likely against a determined defence.
However Widnes managed to keep the pressure on Huddersfield and after Jack Smith rocked the uprights after trying to crash over the line he then had a try disallowed after he reached over to touchdown but the referee deemed that he had lost the ball. With five minutes to the break it looked like it would be the visitors who would go to the dressing rooms holding the lead but Widnes had other ideas and scored two quick tries to lead 18-12 at half time. First it was Gerrard charging over from 10 metres and then right on the whistle Holden and Gerrard took Widnes within 15 metres of the line. Jack Smith then produced a peach of a pass to put Gerrard in for his second try and with Owens converting both scores.
Widnes started the second half as they began the first and it was Liam Thompson who made a 40 metre break to put Widnes on the attack. They had two other good chances within the next five minutes but after being held up over the line and then spilling the ball again, Widnes were left rueing missed opportunities as Huddersfield took control. They drew level when Whitehead scooped up a dropped ball on half way to score under the posts and convert. Five minutes later a strong run by Dawson saw him escape the tackle of Atkin to score Huddersfield's fourth try and another two points from Whitehead gave then a 24-18 lead, a lead they were not going to surrender again.
After well judged kick to the right wing, Gorman surprised Butterworth, over the try line, by touching the ball down. On 62 minutes another kick, this time an awkward grubber, caught out the Widnes defence, bouncing too high for Owens and Carvell was on hand to score. Whitehead converted and at 34-18 the game was effectively over. However Huddersfield didn't rest on their laurels and a lovely move involving the elusive Dawson and Carvell saw Gorman score his second try. A good break by Dec Hulme gave Widnes a glimmer of hope but as the move developed, a wild pass just 30 metres short of the line saw the chance evaporate. Widnes had one last desperate attempt to score but despite throwing the ball from left to right, and offloading at every possible opportunity, they couldn't breach the Giants defence. After being held up over the line for the third time in the game, Widnes surrendered possession and with two minutes left Huddersfield scored their eighth try when full back Murphy dummied and went through a large gap to touch down. Whitehead converted to finish the game with a personal tally of 18 points and complete a miserable half for Widnes.
Whilst they undoubtedly will have missed the experience that Simon Finnigan brought to the side in the previous two games plus the exciting running of Alex Brown, Widnes will be disappointed with this performance. However they have the opportunity to put things right in their next game when they entertain Salford prior to the first team fixture at the Stobart Stadium on Sunday 19 February.
Jack Owens, Luke Willings, Owen Livesey, Declan Hulme, Kiaran Butterworth, Danny Wakefield, Chris Atkin, Brad Davies, Keith Holden, Alex Gerrard, Macgraff Leuluai, Tom Kelly, Liam Thompson.SUBS: Joe Clarke, Jack Smith, Ryan Stokes, Josh Crowley.
Tries: Gerrard 2, Willings.
Goals: Owens 3
Aaron Murphy, Freddie Walker, Ryan Bradbury, Joel Farrell, Matty Dawson, Ben Whitehead, Scott Owen, Tony Tonks, Chris Cullimore Josh Johnson, Matty Sarsfield, Joe Walker, Joe Fox.
SUBS: Alistair Leek, Elliot Gorman, Danny Kean, Jack Carvell.Tries: Whitehead 2, Gorman 2, Murphy, Walker, Dawson, Carvell.
Goals: Whitehead 6
Half time: 18-12
Full Time: 18-44
Referee: B Robinson