MATCH REPORT: Catalans Dragons 14-14 Widnes Vikings

MATCH REPORT: Catalans Dragons 14-14 Widnes Vikings widnesvikings.co.uk
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4th March 2017

Widnes Vikings battled back from 14-0 down to earn a hard fought 14-14 draw in adverse conditions against Catalans Dragons at the State Gilbert Brutus.

It was the home side that started the brighter and it took the French side just six minutes to break the deadlock through Brayden Wiliame. The Dragons were put into position through a penalty and Wiliame hit a short, flat pass from Benjamin Garcia to break the Vikings line and evade the attempted tackle of Rhys Hanbury to score. Luke Walsh added the extras.

The pressure from the Dragons did not stop and they would extend their lead further through Richie Myler. Full back, Hanbury, knocked the ball on from the power of the tackle of William, and Myler used his footballing skills to kick the loose ball three times from the halfway line to the try line before, diving onto it before any Vikings defender could get close. The try was sent upstairs to the video referee, who confirmed the grounding to award the try. Walsh converted to make it 12-0.

The adverse weather conditions - of driving rain and a waterlogged pitch -  meant that both teams were producing errors in a very stop-start affair. Luke Walsh added an extra two points from a penalty given away for a controversial ball steal to make it 14-0.

Despite not having little field position and attacking opportunities, the Vikings were reduce the deficit just before the break. On the back of two penalties and playing in the Dragons’ ten metres, vice-captain Aaron Heremaia jumped out from dummy half, dummied one drop off before giving the ball to Patrick Ah Van, who outmuscled two defenders to score. The try was sent to the video referee, but ah Van had managed to get the ball down. Hanbury added the extras to make it 14-6 at the break - passing the 500 point mark for the Vikings. 

Half-Time: Catalans Dragons 14-6 Widnes Vikings.

The Vikings started the second half in the same manner that they started the first, and started to build pressure on the Dragons’ line, which was to be eventually rewarded. Off the back of a goal line drop out, Vikings half back Chris Bridge grubber kicked towards the try line, and Thomas Bosc fumbled the ball; the ball popped up for Tom Olbison to collect the ball and dive over the line to score his first points in Vikings colours. Hanbury couldn’t convert Olbison’s try.

Both teams would then go set for set, and exchanging handling errors as the conditions worsened in Perpignan. The Dragons almost put themselves back to two scores in front as Benjamin Garcia got over the try line from a quick tap, but Chris Bridge brilliantly held up the Dragons player.

Richie Myler also went close as he chased down a Walsh kick into the in-goal, but Thompson was first there and the video referee gave a goal line drop out rather than a try.

The Vikings continued to battle and the comeback would be completed when Rhys Hanbury scored with just under ten minutes to go. Aaron Heremaia ran out from dummy half down the short right hand side and put a neat grubber into the in-goal area, and the Australian full back was first to the ball to put down. 

Hanbury wasn’t able to convert his own try to win the game, and it stayed at 14-14 in Perpignan. However, the Vikings should be credited for coming back from 14 points down against a tough opposition in terrible weather.

Full-Time: Catalans Dragons 14-14 Widnes Vikings

Catalans: Bosc; Broughton, Inu, Williame, Thornley; Walsh, Myler; Burgess, Aiton, Casty, Garcia, Horo, Bird. Subs: Anderson, Simon, Da Costa, Margalet.

Widnes: Hanbury; Thompson, Armstrong, Runciman, Ah Van; Bridge, Craven; Dudson, White, Buchanan, Whitley, Houston, Cahill. Subs: Heremaia, J Chapelhow, Olbison, Leuluai.

Half-Time: 14-6

Referee: Mr C Kendall

MATCH REPORT: Catalans Dragons 14-14 Widnes Vikings widnesvikings.co.uk