THE WIRE 56 THE WHEATSHEAF 12

up n under

Go on, admit it.

Who was secretly cheering Widnes on against the crust munchers on Thursday because it would make Good Friday’s game a top of the table clash?

Nah, us neither. We hate the fuckers and couldn’t bring ourselves to even entertain the thought.

Their victory at the Pie Dome does set up a mouth-watering derby next week, though, especially after Warrington kept up the league’s only 100% record in a game that was so one-sided that Daryl Powell didn’t even bother trying to get anyone banned.

You have to wonder if the bigwigs at Sky are regretting scheduling their televised fixtures based on the same ‘reputation over form’ principle that Brian Noble used to select his Great Britain sides on.

We know they have to select the games well in advance, but would the armchair neutrals rather see the bottom four family reunion in Hull, a struggling Saints team limp on against a Wigan side still missing their marquee signing – and the only exciting player in their team – or 1st vs 2nd in super league between the two sides playing arguably the best rugby in the competition?

(Who thought they’d live to see the day those word were written about a Wire-Widnes game?)

We’re unashamedly biased here, but we’re nothing if not fair and you have to give credit where it’s due and the Smellies have done well to climb to the top of the league.

They’ve stuck with Dennis Betts despite being largely shite since their return to the top flight, buying into his long-term plan and building a competitive team around a solid spine of playmakers.

It’s easy to say that Widnes are only up there because the likes of Leeds and Huddersfield have started so poorly, but it isn’t their fault that Leeds allowed pivotal players to leave the club without replacing them with enough quality in those positions.

Likewise, we have gone under the radar for the start of the season and both teams sit in the positions they do on their own merit.

In truth, we have been winning matches without setting the world on fire, but the first half on Friday was as impressive a performance as we’ve seen from a Warrington side in a long time.

Everything stuck.

We were relentless in attack and ruthless in defence. What little Cas showed in the first forty was snuffed out without any fuss.

It was the Chris Sandow show for most of the game – those “what a waste of money” chants seem to have stopped, haven’t they? –the scrum half was the hottest thing Castleford have seen since Samantha Janus’ shower scene in Up ‘n’ Under.

Cas resembled the Wheatsheaf, too, as four tries in quick succession meant the game was over after quarter of an hour.

Chris Sandow collected his own chip to dive over by the side of the posts; Penny shot onto a Ryan Atkins tip on after slick hands from Sandow and Gidley then Tommy Lineham ended it as a contest with another of his one-handed put downs in the opposite corner.

Wire continued to pile pressure on to a shell-shocked Tigers outfit – things getting so bad for Cas that at one point, when Luke ‘Hairline’ Gale made a break, nobody was at dummy half when he got up to play the ball.

Matty Russell picked up an Ashton Sims offload close to the line and then doubled his personal tally pushing his way to the line and stretching over with three Cas defenders clinging helplessly to his back.

Ryan Atkins continued the rout and Ben Currie made it 38-0 with a pearler that started well inside our half. Offloads from Clark, Hughes, Penny, Gidley, Westerman and Sandow again finally put Currie over in the left corner.

Sandow started the second half as he did the first was another individual try. This time stepped his way through from 30 meters after a Currie offload.

We then decided to play nice and let Castleford have the ball for a bit.

Tries from our Joel – ensuring he maintains his 1 try per game ratio at the HJ – and the brilliantly named Gadwin Springer gave a slight air of respectability to the score line before Warrington got bored of defending and placed their foot back firmly on the Tigers’ throat.

Brad Dwyer scored after something that you’d see in touch and pass. Castleford just couldn’t cope with the offloads and sheer numbers of options we had in attack. We were taking the piss to the extent it was almost cruel.

There was still time for Lineham to grab his second after Sandow’s neat kick to the corner and Ben Currie also helped himself to another before the hooter put Cas out of their misery.

 

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