20's impress in victory over Saints!
Monday 9th July 2012
Widnes Vikings U20s 32 St Helens U20s 30
Report by John Sheridan
In a game that had everything, including a dramatic and controversial ending, Widnes deservedly beat St Helens in a thrilling close encounter.
The opening five minutes saw both teams struggle to get through determined defences but a 70 metre break up the middle by Paddy Flynn gave Widnes a great attacking position. They didnt let the opportunity pass as Chris Atkin put Declan Hulme over for the game's opening try which Danny Craven duly converted. From the kick off Josh Crowley spilt a simple pass but Saints just couldn't pierce a defence which was beginning to drive them backwards and when Widnes were awarded a penalty in the Saints half, they struck again. The ball was moved quickly along the line via Craven and Atkin who put Crowley in at the corner to make it 10-0.
A third forward pass in the opening 18 minutes then gifted Saints possession in the Widnes half and Nathan Ashe thought he had scored only to be denied by last ditch tackling as he was held up over the line. But the pressure finally told as the ball was moved left and Saints managed to get on the outside of Hulme before putting Greg Wilde over. Not surprisingly, Jamie Foster landed the touchline conversion to reduce the arrears to four points.
The game already had the makings of an entertaining contest and soon Widnes regained their 10 point advantage when Flynn was put away and his pace saw him score Widnes' third try which Craven converted, like Foster, from the touchline. Widnes then tried to turn the screw but they didnt take advantage of their overwhelming possession and just before half time they were made to pay as Saints moved the ball from left to right and Adam Swift scored wide out. Foster again landed the difficult kick, this time via the post, and the teams went into the break with Widnes leading 16-12.
Within 20 seconds of the restart Kurt Haggerty knocked on in his own 20 and this was to prove a costly error as Swift scored his second when he cut inside to score under the posts. With Foster converting, Saints now had the lead for the first time in the match. Widnes immediately went on the attack and a good Owen Livesey run ended with a penalty on half way from which Widnes looked certain to score a try but Atkin's pass to Hulme was forward. Ashe then took Saints into the Widnes half but his kick was well taken by Craven. Widnes then broke via Crowley, who made 30 metres, but frustratingly Widnes again threw away an excellent opportunity when Livesey was denied by another unnecessary forward pass.
This didnt dent Widnes' enthusiasm and their next attack saw Atkin create space for Flynn to score his second try and another good kick by Craven gave Widnes a 22-18 lead. The home side continued to attack and another try went begging when Crowley lost the ball. Tom Kelly was then held up over the line and when Atkin crossed the whitewash it looked as though Widnes had scored their fifth try but the full back was deemed to have made a double movement. Saints then punished Widnes when Liam Thompson made a fine break and his pass found the supporting Danny Yates who scored to give Foster an easy conversion.
In this topsy turvy game, Widnes were soon to wrestle the lead back when a 40/20 from Grant Gore gave them an excellent platform and although Crowley was harshly ruled to have knocked on, Widnes managed to get the ball from the scrum and Keith Holden scored. Craven gave Widnes a four point lead and within four minutes the lead was 32-24 as swift passing put Crowley in for his second and another touchline conversion gave them an eight point lead with 10 minutes left. The game seemed all over when Crowley headed towards the line but Leuluai's pass was forward as Widnes continued to waste great chances to finish the opposition off.
St Helens then launched a final assault and although a resolute defence initially kept them at bay a break and kick by Yates created a try for Foster and he continued his 100% kicking record to reduce the deficit to two points. Then came the unbelievable ending as Matty Norton was judged to have fouled Nathan Ashe and he was harshly given his marching orders. This left Foster with a penalty kick from 40 metres to level the scores and as the ball sailed over the posts, the Saints players and fans rejoiced only for the referee to rule that Ashe had moved offside and the penalty goal was ruled out. The resulting penalty to Widnes saw them end what had been a remarkable game as victors and avenge the drubbing they had received at Langtree Park in April.
Widnes Vikings U20s v St HelensU20s -8 July 2012
Referee. B Robinson
Chris Atkin, Owen Livesey, Josh Crowley, Declan Hulme, Paddy Flynn, Danny Craven, Grant Gore, Brad Davies, Keith Holden, Alex Gerrard, MacGraff Leuluai, Liam Thompson, Kurt Haggerty.
SUBS: Sam Singleton, Matty Norton, Tom Kelly, Ryan Stokes
Tries: Crowley 2, Flynn 2, Holden, Hulme.
Goals: Craven 4/6
Adam Swift, Jason Sandford, Jamie Foster, Alex Trumper, Greg Wilde, Nathan Ashe, Danny Yates, Anthony Walker, Dom Speakman, Carl Foster, Joe Greenwood, Scott Hale, Danny Jones.
SUBS: James Hill, Jordan Case, Aaron McCloskey, Jordan Hand.
Tries: Swift 2, Foster, Wilde, Yates.
Goals: Foster 5/5
Half time: 16-12
Full Time: 32-30