Sunday, 7 July 2019

Bad Chemistry

Widnes 40 - Hornets 12

This was an archetypal game of two halves that turned on a decision by Referee Gareth Hewer in the 45th minute. Trailing just 12-6, Hornets punched a hole in a flat-footed Widnes defence for what looked like the try likely to level the scores. But Mr Hewer's freestyle interpretation of the laws of parallax deemed the pass forward.

Handed the get-out-of-jail-free card, Widnes marched up the other end and scored: 18-6, all the momentum and shattered Hornets left scratching their heads.

The early omens weren't good. Widnes on the board on their first meaningful attack after a minute and a half: Hornets caught cold when veteran prodigal lump Ah Van broke up the left to slot Roby in for the opener. Owens hoofed the conversion attempt into the tea-bar.

Five minutes later, Ah Van got one for himself: Owens displaying the kicking skills of Douglas Bader.

Hornets slowly crawled on top of the game, Adam Lawton and Kyle Shelford pushing Widnes backwards. And for 20 minutes the game became a close-quarters tussle that had the home fans shifting nervously in their seats.

On 25 minutes a breakthrough. Good approach work from Hornets, Jordan case combining with Pierre Bourrel to draw Ah Van in-field, debutant Kevin Brown the recipient of the wide pass to score by the flag. Oscar Thomas on target from the whitewash and Hornets back in the hunt at 8-6.

Just past the half hour, Pierre Bourrel almost cracked the Vikings' defence with a dainty dink into the in-goal, but the ball squirmed away from a host of chasing Hornets fingertips. Widnes replied by marching downfield where Owens somehow got the ball down despite the attentions of a clutch of defenders. His conversion attempt the worst of his three thus far and Hornets headed for the sheds at just 12-6.

Hornets began the second half at pace. The ball worked quick-smart up the right edge, but what looked a clean-cut try from 100 metres away was pulled back by Mr Hewer. You could sense the momentum shift.

On 50 minutes Craven managed to wrestle the ball down for 18-6 before Owens grabbed his second to extend the lead off a Gilmore kick into space that Hornets simply failed to read.

On the hour, Mr Hewer again demonstrated his inability to judge direction when a launch and hope cut-out pass - a full three metres forward - was plucked from the air by Ah Van. No whistle was forthcoming - and that was the point at which you pretty much knew the game was up.

Three minutes later, Ashall-Bott was on the end of a mirror-image move up the opposite flank - both teams engaged in handbags after Callum Wood gave him a gentle nudge after scoring. In the ensuing kerfuffle Wood and Widnes' Cahill were sent to consider their actions for 10 minutes.

Widnes the quicker of the two sides to settle, Owens with his hat-trick try off an Ashall-Bott kick. Hornets having shipped 5 tries in just 16 minutes.

The remaining 18 minutes of the game were reduced to a prodding contest. Widnes happy to jab Hornets back into the corners: Hornets poking and pushing, with little to show until Callum Marriott crashed in for an 79th minute consolation try.

In the end, a promising first 40, surmounted by a disapointing second period in which Hornets struggled to go with a Widnes side that opened the throttle. But games do turn in small incidents. At 12-all after 42 minutes you'd have a very different game, but it wasn't to be.

A disappointing end to a very disappointing weekend for our club.