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1st XV - Match centre

Liverpool St Helens
Widnes
Sat 28 Oct 15:00 - Northern Division - South Lancs & Cheshire Division 1 Full time

Widnes lose at Moss Lane.

Widnes' three match winning run came to an end at a cold and windy Moss Lane.

In the end, they were well beaten by a big, and experienced LSH team, who secured their sixth win in eight games to remain in touch with the leading pair of Broughton Park and Anselmians at the top of the table.

For the visitors, though, it was yet another game in which they had any number of players missing from their squad, including their regular front-row who were all absent from duty. Nevertheless, they put in a terrific shift throughout with the final score perhaps not reflecting the missed opportunities and the effort they had put in.

Once again, the weather was pretty miserable for this fixture, with a very strong, cold wind blowing straight down the ground, mixed in with some squally rain and dark leaden skies.

With the conditions likely to dictate how the game was going to be played, Widnes had first go with the wind behind their backs, although it was LSH who were on the offensive early on before a long range touch finder from Kevin Leadbetter cleared the danger.

After just eight minutes, the home side had a player sent to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock on but Leadbetter’s penalty effort was wide of the target.

James Butler then went close as he followed up a diagonal chip ahead to the corner, before the visitors finally open their account with a scrappy, if fortunate try, as Kevin Leadbetter eventually re-gathered his own kick ahead to score a try which he then converted to give them a 7 – nil lead.

Dan Filson then had a chance to put points on the board for the home side. His effort, though, hit the upright which then wasn’t fully dealt with by the Widnes defence allowing the LSH pack to ramp up the pressure close to the line from where Paddy Royle crashed over. This time the fullback was on target meaning that the score was now all square again at 7 – 7.

It now looked like the home side were beginning to get the upper hand, and with scrum half Darren Wilson directing operations, it wasn’t long before they were able to stretch the Wids defence out wide to get Sam Ward in at the corner for their second try.

Widnes were finding it hard to get any sort of meaningful possession at this point, but when they did eventually make their way upfield, they were unfortunate to see hooker Ben Mercer’s effort wiped off by the referee because of a forward pass. Then, shortly afterwards after Ryan Millington and Adam Lawton had combined to go close, Mike Garrity was held up over the line before the danger was eventually cleared.

Despite the late, frantic action, there were no further changes to the scoreboard, and LSH went in to the break leading by 12pts – 7.

With the elements now against them, Widnes was going to have to do it tough if they were to get anything from the game.

After 45 minutes, Dan Filson had another chance to put points on the board for his side but the chance was missed. However, he made amends just two minutes later as he converted an easier opportunity to make it 15 – 7.

With LSH continuing to turn the screw, Widnes was forced onto the defensive for long spells of play and it was a further 15 minutes before Keiron Arndell made a long and very welcome relieving break out of defence.

A great piece of quick thinking from Josh Hodson, saw the winger show some pace to follow up a kick ahead before swooping down low to smother and collect the ball in one smart movement and slide over the line to score a try. Filson’s conversion meant the score had now moved out to 22pts – 7 and almost out of sight.

Shortly afterwards, the petty squabbling that had threatened to bubble over earlier in the match suddenly ignited and a melee developed in midfield involving players from both sides. When the referee restored order he spoke to both captains before then producing two yellow cards and two red cards, meaning that both teams would finish the game with just 13 men each.

Upon the resumption, LSH continued to press home their advantage and following the award of a penalty try, scrum half Darren Wilson then produced another of his trademark show and go down the blind side to dive over for a try which finally ending proceedings for the afternoon.

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
8. Leigh 10 22
9. West Park (St Helens) 10 21
10. Widnes 10 19
11. Southport 10 18
12. Hoylake 10 16
13. New Brighton 10 15
14. Manchester Medics 10 1

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