MATCH REPORT: Widnes Vikings 26-28 Wigan Warriors

MATCH REPORT: Widnes Vikings 26-28 Wigan Warriors

25th February 2017

Widnes Vikings gave a strong performance against Wigan Warriors, but ultimately came up just short against the new World Club Champions. In a game that only almost 24 hours earlier had been set to take place at the DW Stadium, the players came close to delivering an unforgettable result at the Select Security Stadium. 

The Vikings made the brighter start of the two teams, with Danny Craven troubling Wigan with a number of high bombs. On two occasions, his kicks towards Runciman came close to adding points.

But despite a lot of pressure from the Vikings, they did not pick up the first points of the game and were punished by Thomas Leuluai. The returning Kiwi was able to dummy and barge over two Widnes tacklers from close range, Morgan Escare converted the try to make it 6-0.

The intensity from the home side continued and the Vikings levelled up the scores through Lloyd White. Chris Bridge was able to offload in the tackle, the ball hit the deck and White picked up, saw and gap and managed to slide over. Hanbury converted to make it 6-6.

Denis Betts’ side would then take the lead for the first time in the game as Danny Craven managed to cross. The Vikings twice turned down the opportunity to take the two points and were rewarded through the half back. Craven dummied and, like White before, managed to squeeze through a gap and scrore. Hanbury converted to kick his 100th goal for Widnes Vikings to make it 12-6. 

The Warriors were quick to respond though and it was Oliver Gildart who scored, suporrted by some skill from Morgan Escare. The French full back brilliantly chipped and chased, then managed to find Gildart who evaded Vikings tacklers to score close to the sticks. Escare then converted to level the scores at 12-12.

But the Vikings were to go into the break ahead, as a White grubber kick cannoned off the posts’ pads and Armstrong was first to the loose ball to put the ball over the line. Hanbury converted to make the score 18-12 to the Vikings at half-time.

Half-Time: Widnes Vikings 18-12 Wigan Warriors

Just like in the first half, the home side made the strongest start and were rewarded through Stefan Marsh. White ran from dummy-half and brilliantly threw a cut out pass, bypassing two men, and found Marsh who sneaked in at the corner. Hanbury didn’t convert to make it 22-12.

Rhys Hanbury kicked a penalty goal after Wigan were penalised for lying on, then marched ten metres for dissent to make it 24-12 shortly afterwards. The Australian then added a further two points after gaining another penalty to make it 26-12.

Then came the Wigan comeback. First it was returning winger Joe Burgess who, despite pressure from Corey Thompson, superbly finished in the corner from a George Williams cut out pass. Escare wasn’t able to convert from the touchline. 

It was the Warriors’ other winger, Lewis Tierney, who reduced the deficit further as a flowing move to the right was offloaded into the winger’s arms who finished brilliantly in the corner. Escare missed the conversion to make it 26-20.

Burgess then added his second try of the game, as quick hands from Wigan from right to left found the England international in space at the corner. Sam Powell missed the conversion to make it 26-24. 

The recently crowned World Club Champions then took the lead with the final try of the game to win it as it was Wigan’s left edge that struck again. George Williams found Burgess, who burst through the line to find Oliver Gildart on his inside to score the winning try. Escare missed the conversion, but it meant little as Wigan ran out 28-26 winners.

Full-Time: Widnes Vikings 26-28 Wigan Warriors

Widnes Vikings: Hanbury; Thompson, Hanbury, Runciman, Marsh; Bridge, Craven; Dudson, White, Buchanan, Whitley, Houston, Leuluai.

Replacements: Heremaia, Cahill, Olbison, Burke.

Wigan Warriors: Escare, Tierney, Gelling, Gildart, Burgess; Williams, Leuluai; Nuuausala, Powell, Flower, Isa, Powell, O'Loughlin.

Replacements: J. Tomkins, Clubb, Tautai, Sherrocks.

Referee: James Child.

MATCH REPORT: Widnes Vikings 26-28 Wigan Warriors