In conditions resembling at times, the Somme, Park succumbed to an away defeat against Widnes in this second versus third clash.
This was a dour; stop, start game in which the backs struggled for footing and breaks were few and far between. The soggy pitch spoiled what could have been an exciting encounter between these two fairly equal sides.
It is hard to pick exciting incidents in the first half except collapsing scrums as both packs lost their footing and a ping pong session of kicks which were dealt with surprisingly well despite the muddy ball. A solitary penalty for offside was slotted over after Park had failed with one of their own.
With only three points on the board at half time surely the second half must be better? Park had spluttered, huffed and puffed but could not get into their game. The crash ball was employed but the execution was generally slow and the Widnes defence tight. Half breaks by Harvey and Warburton came to nothing and when Pritchard joined the line he was wrapped up like last nights fish and chips.
The new duo at second row of Birkett and Coates started to tire into the later stages of the game which meant Dickinson at scrum half had fewer opportunities to show his usual invention.
Widnes kept probing and eventually with a drive to the right and then to the line, eventually scored, the points converted. Burrows and Halliwell joined the fray for Woods and Nolan, and both showed sparks of invention. Several forays into the Widnes half by the Park forwards were only stopped by good cover tackling. West Park’s only successful penalty by Dowling saw spirits lift but it was no turning point and with a final penalty to Widnes, the game squelched to an end!
West Park had opportunities but several missed penalties combined with awful conditions underfoot, saw them squandered. However at the end of the day Widnes were deserved winners
John Ellison once again excelled and with some regular players missing, Jack Coates and Dean Halliwell both made debuts, showing they have promise for the future. This was a game that the seconds will want to forget, however they must learn from the experience and move on to next week’s game against Sefton with renewed enthusiasm