When the fixtures were released for this season’s ADM Premier League, Fleetwood were given the short straw. Away to last years champions Widnes who are on a 25 match winning streak.
On a bright sunny day Fleetwood took the field with 14 ex mini juniors , a record. Only hooker, Devon Brown, had not come from the club’s production line. Injuries and unavailability had meant that 10 of our first team squad were missing although the guys who played stuck manfully to the task in hand.
The game started at a furious pace with both sides looking to play expansive rugby. Fleetwood were guilty of being too quick in their defensive line and were penalised for offside. Widnes kicked a 35 metre penalty and the from another 5metres out their scrum half scored an opportunist try which was converted. A further converted try in the 20th minute saw Widnes 17-0 up.
Fleetwood then started to get back into the game. From a line out, the forwards drove the opposition pack 25 yards back, quick ball put Tom Evans into space. Excellent footwork took him past the Widnes defence to score under the posts. Tom converted his own try 17-7.
A further Widnes try pushed the score to 22-7 before a rather unsavoury incident marred the game. Fleetwood took a quick tap penalty 40 metres from the Widnes line before they were halted on the 22 by a high tackle. Another quick tap the was offloaded to Tom Evans who was immediately struck in the face by a Widnes forward. In the ensuing fracas George Orry was singled out by the referee for retaliation. This resulted in red cards for both the Widnes forward and George. After a long delay while Tom was receiving medical attention the referee then reversed the penalty and Widnes cleared their lines. Another converted try to Widnes gave them a healthy 29-7 half time lead.
After half time injuries began to mount for Fleetwood. Zac Coultas, Joe Kirton and Jack Brocklehurst all had to be replaced. During this disruption Widnes scored 3 further tries to lead 50-7. Fleetwood hit back. The introduction of Ethan O’Hara at prop gave Fleetwood impetus in the scums and after a succession of 5 metre scrums the referee lost patience and awarded a penalty try to Fleetwood. 50-14.
Fleetwood continued to press the Widnes line but lost possession and following a long kick downfield Widnes outpaced the Fleetwood defence to score again. Fleetwood were soon back on the Widnes line and from another solid scrum a well worked move saw coach Steve Woodburn crash over from one yard out. Final score 57-21
Congratulations to Widnes, they were undoubtably the better team. Fleetwood were courageous in defence and with a little more time together can prove to be a threat to most teams in this league.
Fleetwood’s Man of the Match was Tom Evans