Widnes Vikings 40-12 Catalans Dragons

Widnes Vikings 40-12 Catalans Dragons widnesvikings.co.uk
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5th February 2018

Widnes Vikings started the season in impressive fashion with a thumping 40-12 win over Catalans Dragons at the Halton Stadium.

The Vikings were level at 12-12 at the break, with Chris Dean’s opener and Joe Mellor’s effort being cancelled out by David Mead and Benjamin Jullien for the Dragons.

Nevertheless, Denis Betts’ men were relentless in the second 40, scoring 28 unanswered points as they ran away with proceedings. Krisnan Inu scored his first try in Widnes colours, before a second from Dean and further scores from Patrick Ah Van, Charly Runciman and Stefan Marsh added much-deserved separation on the scoreboard.

The win puts Widnes in good form heading into next Sunday’s tough-looking clash against Castleford Tigers at the Jungle.

 

The Vikings started well as they were awarded field position in the opening ten minutes through ill-discipline by Steve McNamara’s men.

The toll of penalties, which finished at 15-4 in the Vikings favour, culminated in prop forward Sam Moa being sent to the sin-bin seven minutes in for a late shot on Joe Mellor.

They made their man advantage count after 13 minutes through Chris Dean, who met a flat pass from Marsh to barge his way over from close range. Gilmore added the extras to make it 6-0.

The Vikings nearly made it two tries in three minutes as Charly Runciman beat Jodie Broughton to Hanbury’s kick; however, Matt Whitley could only spill Runciman’s flick inside. 

Catalans levelled proceedings midway through the first half, as Luke Walsh- who converted well from the touchline- cannoned a pass to David Mead, the Papua New Guinea full-back outmuscling Krisnan Inu from three yards out to score.

The visitors added another six-pointer five minutes later to go 12-6 ahead, Benjamin Jullien reacting quickest to touch down on debut, after Runciman fumbled Samisoni Langi’s cross-field kick on the last.

The Vikings were agonisingly close to responding shortly after, but Lloyd White spilled the ball under pressure from a last-ditch tackle close to the Dragons line with the whitewash beckoning.

However, this didn’t deter Denis Betts’ men, who equalised matters minutes before the interval. Second-rower Dean was able to break through the Catalans right edge from 40 yards out, with Mellor supporting on his inside to stroll under the posts.

Half-Time: Widnes Vikings 12-12 Catalans Dragons

The Vikings started the second 40 in electric fashion, forcing a repeat set off the back of a spectacular weaving run by Mellor- the half-back stepping his way past six Catalans defenders!

They finally made their superiority count eight minutes into the half, with Krisnan Inu outjumping the Catalans defender to touch down on debut against his former side. Gilmore added the two from right of the sticks to open-up a six-point lead.

Widnes extended the lead to eight with a penalty goal from Gilmore, given for holding down on Lloyd White after yet-another pacey break away down the defensive left edge from the Welshman.

The home side added yet another score on the very next set as Dean bagged a brace, exploding onto Joe Mellor’s pass straight through a gaping hole in the Dragons defence. Gilmore continued his 100% record with the boot to make it 26-12 after 57 minutes.

With Steve McNamara’s French side reeling from the home team’s scintillating start to the second period, Widnes tried to apply further pressure, forcing a repeat set off the back of a towering kick from Gilmore. However, the ball was worked wide to Patrick Ah Van, who was bundled into touch, inches away from the corner.

The Dragons nearly got themselves back into it after Ah Van was dispossessed near his own 20 metre line. However, David Mead dropped a ball from Walsh to return possession to the grateful hosts.

The Dragons tried to apply pressure for the first time in the half after 63 minutes, forcing a repeat set. However, a cheeky drop-out by Gilmore caught the visitors napping as Runciman caught the ball on the 10 metres line to take possession back for Widnes.

The hosts were in unforgiving mood though, with the ball being thrown wide to Runciman after a nice half-break from Matt Whitley, whose cute offload found Ah Van to dive over in the left corner. Gilmore added a spectacular touchline conversion to stretch the lead to 20 with nine minutes to go.

Runciman was able to get in on the act just minutes after to extend the Vikings score to 36. Inu wonderfully patted back a high kick from Gilmore, before a flick-pass from Chris Houston made space for the ball to be flung from right-to-left for Runciman to stroll in out wide. Unfortunately, Gilmore’s unsuccessful kick was met by ironic boos from the home faithful!

There was still time for the Vikings to add some final gloss to the score-line in the final seconds, as Inu intercepted a loose Dragons pass to race 60 metres downfield, before laying the ball off for Marsh to race in at the right corner to finish the scoring at 40-12.

Full-Time: Widnes Vikings 40-12 Catalans Dragons

Widnes: Hanbury, Marsh, Inu, Runciman, Ah Van, Mellor, Gilmore, J.Chapelhow, Heremaia, Burke, Dean, Whitley, Houston. Subs - White, W.Albert, Olbison, Cahill.

Catalans: Mead, Broughton, Thornley, Wiliame, Tierney, Langi, Walsh, Moa, McIlorum, Bousquet, Jullien, Garcia, Casty. Subs - Simon, Albert, Maria, Baitieri. 

Widnes Vikings 40-12 Catalans Dragons widnesvikings.co.uk