There’s two things we must say right at the very top of this report.
Firstly, we must congratulate Dougie Laughton’s Barmy Army for winning the singing contest. If points were given for having pissed up lads in Stone Island gear singing Beatles’ songs and gloating about a trophy they won before half of them were even born, Widnes would be world club champions every year.
But they’re not. They’re given for the team that actually scores the most points on the pitch so, secondly, we must say: Fucking have that you daft Chemic twats!
We were going to do a ‘your boys took a hell of a beating’ style intro, but other than our own Richie Myler, we could only think of Bobbie Goulding who is from Widnes and anywhere near famous. And even he hasn’t wanted anything to do with the Chemics since the early 90s.
After the embarrassment at Easter, allowing Widnes to do another ‘double’ over us wasn’t going to acceptable, but with forty seconds left on the clock, it looked like the minions in their club shop would be working bank holiday flogging commemorative mugs and flags that would put the Royal Baby celebrations to shame.
The bunting was put on hold, though, when Joel Monaghan crashed over in the corner just as the timekeeper was about to press the hooter to signal full-time, sparking the second ‘limbs everywhere’ moment in successive weeks.
Having forced a goal line drop out, Wire took advantage of the field position with a well executed handling move that saw the ball shifted wide to the skipper who made no mistake in bursting Widnes’ bubble and three quarters of the stadium erupted, trading a sense of depression and dread with joy and relief.
Leading 14-4 just before the break, Wire let Widnes back into the game with a soft try right on the half-time hooter in the same spot that Joel would eventually bag the winning try. The ball was shifted to their right hand side and, despite matching their attack for numbers down that side, winger Gene Ormsby inexplicably shot off his wing looking for the interception. He missed, of course, gifting Paddy Flynn the room to score in the corner.
They then scored two tries after the break that put them into the lead and we were chasing the game for much of the rest of the match.
Kevin Brown always looks like a genuinely decent stand off against us, rather than the bang average mid-table super league centre in the number six jersey that he is, and he typically ran the show for the Smellies in the second half.
He levelled the scores after fooling the defence with a dummy and a sidestep near the line, then scored again minutes later when he stole the ball and raced 60 metres to score. Oddly, referee Ben Thaler – who was absolutely shite all game, it must be said – had the whistle in his mouth but didn’t blow. He also failed to see the blatant obstruction of Anthony England in the prop forward’s attempts to track back the giraffe-necked former Wigan protégé, though the fact that he was the only Wire player in pursuit was disgusting.
The second half showing was in stark contrast to the first half, when Wire were pretty much all over our nearest and dearest.
Gene Ormsby opened the scoring for the second consecutive week, scoring a well taken try in the corner after a neat backline spread.
Widnes replied with a really scrappy score in the corner. Jack Owens had seen enough of his team pissing about and picked the ball up from dummy half and dove over from a good few metres out.
It was a predictable try in many ways; Wire had dominated proceedings for the most part, but only had a four point lead to show for it and an equaliser was bound to happen.
Wire didn’t let their heads drop, though, and two quick fire tries saw us regain and then extend the lead.
First, having seen namesakes Currie and Harrison put in pinpoint grubbers at Headingley last week, Westwood decided it was his turn to provide a try assist with a little nudge that Briers would’ve proud of to allow Monaghan to touch down in the corner.
Westwood then provided another assist when he stormed onto a perfectly-timed short ball from Myler and broke the line before releasing a brilliant one-handed offload to the supporting Daryl Clark who scored under the sticks.
Widnes then scored their three tries and, despite there still being 20 minutes on the clock, Wire played as though they had to score off every set, throwing passes out of their arse and trying ridiculous offloads that were never on, rather than building pressure and turning territory into points like in the first half.
Both teams traded disallowed tries for forward passes before Ben Westwood, having created two tries, turned try scorer when he found himself at dummy half and threw his body at the try line, taking the score to 20-18 and setting up the grandstand finish.
The world of rugby league is in mourning today after learning of the sad passing of Welsh international Danny Jones. Danny suffered a suspected Cardiac Arrest after being replaced during Keighley’s game at London Skolars.
Heartbreakingly, he leaves behind a widow and five month old twins. Like everyone else associated with the sport, we would like to pass on our most sincere condolences to his family and friends at this time.