Match Report: Vikings Victorious at Leigh

Match Report: Vikings Victorious at Leigh widnesvikings.co.uk
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2nd April 2017

Leigh Centurions    24            v        Widnes Vikings    37

A Danny Craven hat trick, a side which contained six former Academy players and a fantastic team effort all added up to a great first win of the season, as Widnes triumphed at the Leigh Sports Village. Widnes were soon on the defensive when Leigh's kick off found touch but they rode the early storm and they opened the scoring on their first venture into the Leigh 20 metre area.  The returning Tom Gilmore put in a lovely neat kick and Chris Bridge was on hand to touch down.  

The home side were conceding penalties at an alarming rate and the Vikings were able to take full advantage when Danny Craven scythed through the defence to score.  Gilmore converted and Widnes held a 10 point advantage.  

That was extended by a further two when another indiscretion by Leigh saw Widnes take the option to kick for goal and Gilmore made it 12-0. Leigh then began to get a foothold in the game and former Viking, Danny Tickle, opened their account with a try on 25 minutes which was converted by Ben Reynolds.  

A high kick saw Rhys Hanbury tackled in the air but the referee had seen a previous obstruction by Widnes and from the resulting penalty Ben Crooks scored Leigh's second try.  Reynolds converted and the game was suddenly level.  

However there was still time for a another score and a great Jordan Johnstone break up the middle saw the hooker pass to the supporting Craven who scored again.  Gilmore converted and Widnes led 18-12 at the break.

The second half saw Widnes strike early as Gilmore created another try, this time for Sam Brooks.  Tom added the extras and then slotted over a drop goal to edge the Vikings further ahead.  However there was still over 30 minutes left, and Leigh are formidable on their own ground, so it wasn't surprising when Crooks scored his second of the game and Reynolds converted.  A further try from Sam Hopkins and a successful kick again from Reynolds saw the Widnes lead reduced to just one point and at 25-24 a nail-biting finish was in store.

Widnes were now down to 13 players as injuries took their toll and it looked as though Leigh would go on to take the spoils.  However another great try from Craven saw him complete his hat trick and Gilmore's fifth conversion gave Widnes an important seven point lead.  The half back pairing, who led Widnes around the pitch all afternoon, ensured Leigh were predominately on the back foot as tactical kicks pinned the home side in their own half.

 A 50 metre run by Charly Runciman, having his best game in a Widnes shirt, saw the Vikings go close again but the centre wasn't to be denied as he scored the final try which Gilmore yet again converted.

Leigh Centurions: Ryan Hampshire, Adam Higson, Mitch Brown, Ben Crooks, Matty Dawson, Martyn Ridyard, Ben Reynolds, Jamie Acton, Micky Higham, Dayne Weston, Atalae Vea, Danny Tickle, Gareth Hock. SUBS: Liam Hood, Harrison Hansen, Sam Hopkins, James Green.

Tries: Crooks 2, Hopkins,Tickle, Goals: Reynolds 4/4

Widnes Vikings: Rhys Hanbury, Tom Armstrong, Chris Bridge, Charly Runciman, Stefan Marsh, Danny Craven, Tom Gilmore, James Chapelhow, Jordan Johnstone, Greg Burke, Tom Olbison, Matt Whitley, Chris Houston.  SUBS: Danny Walker, MacGraff Leuluai, Manase Manuokafoa, Sam Brooks.

Tries: Craven 3, Bridge, Brooks, Runciman. Goals: Gilmore 6/7  Drop Goal: Gilmore

HT 12-18 FT 24-37 Pens 4-9

Match Report: Vikings Victorious at Leigh widnesvikings.co.uk