Jingle Bells And That

It’s hard to take anything from “festive friendly”, other than a few hours out the house and a few beers.

If it wasn’t against the neighbours and the fact that it’s been a good few weeks since our last Rugby League fix and that we’ve got a new laptop, we doubt very much we’d have bothered writing this.

Tony Smith said it was a helpful run out and that is probably fair.

Most of the players have been back since the end of November and it was, if nothing else, a much needed contact session.

Plus it gave some of the younger lads a chance to hedge up the pecking order before the internationals start running around in a couple of weeks.

Harvey Livett was one that did so.

Starting at centre and the switching to stand off in the second half, he was probably the best on the Widnes baize.

He certainly improved us in the when he slotted in at stand-off.

Jack Johnson was another who went well and he’s got to be a better option than Matty Russell at full back while Ratch is recovering.

We started like a team without a recognised half back in the squad – mainly because that is what we were.

With Gidley and Brown shaping up as the first choice half back combination – and only really Dec Patton as cover if Stefan Ratchford (Baby) is going to continue at full back – this, and the remaining pre-season fixtures will allow Smith to explore options of players that could possibly fill in there if absolutely necessary.

Both Westerman and Toby King have played in the halves during their junior days, but have spent much of their senior careers elsewhere. Westerman was voted ‘rising star’ in the national camps as a kid and captained England schoolboys from Six, but that was over a decade ago now.

They started the game paired together and we had lots of bluster and running around but we never really looked like scoring.

Widnes opened their account when Warrington-born-recognised-scrum-half Joe Mellor found Stefen Marsh with a cut-out pass for touch down out wide.

Wire were back level through Livett soon after.

Marsh failed to collect stand in scrum half Joe Westerman’s bomb and Livett grounded. He followed that with adding the conversion.

That was about as good as it got for Warrington in the first half.

Widnes finished the first forty minutes stronger with a try from Ince after Warrington probably should have added to their tally.

A great line from Atkins put the Dream Team centre through, but with too much time to think and a number of options to choose from, he sort of didn’t really choose any of them and the ball found its way into a Widnes hand.

It would be wrong to lay the blame at Atkins’ feet, however. It was the best play from anyone in primrose and blue all game and the fact that five tackles later we were caught out by a grubber shouldn’t take away from that.

**Yes, we’re looking directly at you, man sat behind us. This was a pre-season run around with a loose forward and a centre in the halves and Ashton Sims playing as a third pivot. What did you expect?**

Warrington shuffled their cards in the second half.

Livett and Morgan Smith moved into the halves and Benjamin Jullien slotted in at hooker, but it was more often than not the bloke that was stood closest to the play the ball that jumped in at dummy half.

It worked anyway, as we looked a lot more fluid and despite the Chemics extending their lead through Keanan Brand, Warrington increasingly looked the more likely.

It was Jullien’s short pass that found the “disgraceful” **Still looking at the bloke stood behind us** Atkins to score.

Old shouty pants was delighted when youngster Declan Kay failed to deal with a high bomb and Liam Walsh scored for the hosts.

At this, point despite being wrong for the whole match, he declared that it was “game over and that there was no point turning up”.

Despite the law of averages that suggested if he kept saying stuff he might eventually be correct, like a stopped clock that is right twice a day, Warrington then sealed the win with three unanswered tries.

Bet he was gutted.

Toby King got his hands to kick and used up our one successful charge down of the year, running away from the tiring Vikings defence.

This was followed straight up by the ever-disgraceful Ryan Atkins who provided a lovely pass for Kay to make up for his earlier error and Rhys Evans found himself at the end of a move started by Jack Johnson.

Oh and while we’re on one about bell ends in the crowd, can we give the IRA, Jihadi John and the Manchester United songs a rest, eh boys?

It’s brilliant that you’ve discovered YouTube, but you just make yourself look stupid. And the rest of us, by association. It would be greatly appreciated if that came to an end this year. Nice one.



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