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1st XV - Match centre

Widnes
Manchester Medics
Sat 25 Nov 14:15 - Northern Division - South Lancs & Cheshire Division 1 Full time

Just what the Doctor ordered!

This result was just what the doctor ordered as Widnes got the better of bottom club Manchester Medics at Heath Road.

And, whilst it was happy days for the home side – in particular, Andy Owens and Tom O’Neill, who both scored hat-tricks - it will have been a bitter pill to swallow for the Medics who suffered yet more pain after an eleventh straight defeat that leaves them firmly rooted to the foot of the table with just a single point to their name.

For Widnes, though, this was a massive result. Not only did they do what they had to do and get the bonus point win they needed, it also helped to exorcise the demons of the previous three games which had sent them spiralling down the table and close to the danger zone.
There was also the added bonus that the game went ahead at all, which, was due in no small way to the efforts of Head groundsman Graham McLean and his very willing and able army of volunteers, who all turned up complete with garden forks to get the pitch playable.

Not that the weather was ever going to be a respecter of any of the hard work, as yet another torrential downpour of rain and hail greeted the players as kick off time approached.

Because of the conditions, the game itself was never going to be a cracker and there were plenty of mistakes early on with highlights at a real premium.

The home side had the best of the early chances, with a timely ball steal from Keiron Arndell sending Tom Spencer on a long run before the ball finally went to ground.

Eventually, though, after 19 minutes, the deadlock was broken as quick hands got Mike Jones over in the corner for the first try.

The Wids pack continued to press home their advantage before forcing the Medics into conceding a penalty, which Kevin Leadbetter converted to make the score 8 – nil.

After Arnie Haydock had come on to replace Matt Blakey, the Medics number 8 Alex Pett then made a strong run down field before the danger was repelled.

Widnes still looked as if they had another try in them before the break, and that proved to be the case as big Arnie Haydock – who went on to have a really good game – peeled off close to the line to crash over for a trademark try from close range. Captain Leadbetter added the extras to send the home side in happy at the break and leading by 15pts – nil.

The positivity continued in the second half as prop forward Justin Winstanley went on a barnstorming run down the centre of the field, which eventually saw the ball spun out wide to get full back Andy Owens over.

Shortly afterwards, Tom O’Neill used brute strength to get over for his first try, and suddenly the game began to look out of sight at 25 – nil.
Justin Winstanley was then denied an opportunity because of a forward pass, before Haydock was tackled into touch at the corner as he reached out to score.

Moments later, though, Tom O’Neill was over again for his second try which brought up the 30 point mark.
A great run by Matt Blakey should have resulted in more points, before the home side found themselves a man down when the referee produced a yellow card.

The Medics then produced their best spell as they probed and prodded their way looking for a consolation effort. But, sadly, it looked like this just wasn’t going to be their day and it wasn’t long before a fine run and inside pass from wing man Josh Paton saw Owens score his second try of the afternoon.

Kevin Leadbetter’s conversion increased their advantage further before Tom O’Neill scrambled his way over for a try to complete his hat-trick, before Andy Owens then completed his own three timer close enough for Leadbetter to add the extras before proceedings ended for the afternoon.

Afterwards, a relieved Head coach Lee McDermott commented “We are just glad that the game went ahead and we did all that we had to do to secure the five points on offer. We can get some real comfort from this victory which we hope to take forward into what will be another must win game next week”.

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
6. Tyldesley 13 34
7. Leigh 13 29
8. Widnes 12 28
9. Sefton 12 26
10. West Park (St Helens) 12 26
11. Hoylake 13 25
12. Southport 11 20

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