Salford 12 Widnes 26 Match Report – David Clegg
With as many as fifty percent of their senior players sidelined through injury, it was a quite inexperienced Red Devils side which took to the field in last Thursday’s home fixture against the Widnes Vikings, and, although the youngsters competed, set for set, through to half time, they succumbed to the Vikings superiority, as the second half wore on.
Failure to claim kicks was to play a significant part in the home side’s demise, and this started as early as the kick off, which they should, but failed, to receive, affording the visitors a first taste of possession close to the Salford line. The result was a converted try to Widnes at the end of that first set, after only a minute’s play
Despite this early set back, however, the Salford lads dug deep to turn the first half into an extremely even affair with the Red Devils enjoying the bulk of possession, thanks to a 7:3 penalty count in their favour. An inability to turn pressure into, points, however, was to prove costly, and it was not until the twenty-seventh minute that they were able to draw level.
As has been the case on so many occasions this season, a play-the-ball close to the Widnes line enabled hooker, Aaron Moore, to perform his weekly, show and go from dummy half, the try from which he then converted.
The momentum which this might have created, however, was finished before it started, when, for the second time in the half, they failed to take the ball from the kick off, and so were forced to defend another assault on their own try line. Fortunately, this time they were able to withstand the attack, and the 6-6 scoreline was unchanged, when the half-time whistle signalled the end of the first forty minutes.
The start to the second half was as disappointing as the first, with Widnes re-establishing the lead with another converted try, after only two minutes of play, and although the penalty count continued to favour the Red Devils, their failure to field long kicks, or diffuse high bombs, led directly to three further tries, without reply.
The one Salford score of the half came on 67 mins, when centre Alex Gaskell, who had been unfortunate to have been held up over the line, a couple of tackles earlier, launched himself on another run at the line, and this time was successful in getting through to ground the ball to the right of the posts. Moore’s conversion brought the scoreline to 12-20.
The Vikings were to have the last word three minutes from time, though, when a Salford end-of-set kick went directly into touch, and Widnes’s final, converted score followed, as a consequence of the ball-back for the resultant scrum.
Tries – Owen Buckley (2), Jack Houghton, Pat McCarroll, James Rutldge
Goals – Sam Freeman (3)
Jack Thompson, Elliott Caine, Ben Calland, Alex Gaskell, Regan Croft, Ben Hayes, John Whittaker, Jack Cottington, Aaron Moore, Luke Fowden, Declan Hidden, Lewis Hatton, Liam Bent
Brad Storey, Lewis Gregory, Lewis Brown, Jordan Cella
Sam Freeman, Owen Buckley, Keenan Brand, Ross Webster, Nathan Holbrook, Joe Lyons, Jordan Johnstone, Jack Armstrong, Josh Houghton, Connor Cutts, Jack Houghton, Dan Norman, Pat McCarroll
Jack Bond, Jack Reynolds, James Rutledge, Connor Parker
Referee – Mr J McMullen