Vale 17-15 Widnes

Rob Lamberton breaks clear.
Rob Lamberton breaks clear.
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The game was officially halted by Referee Henry in the 59th minute following an injury to James Curran.

The winger’s injury was diagnosed as whiplash and with pins and needles in his arms it was decided, in view of possible complications if he was moved, to suspended play.

A later scan revealed Curran had sustained a trapped nerve and bruising, far less serious than first feared when the game was called off.

A decision will now be made by the North Division Organising Committee as to when the game will be replayed.

Up to the time the referee halted proceedings the game was finely balanced only the most ardent supporters would have predicted the outcome. Vale’s pack was undoubtedly bossing the set scrums but Widnes tackled like demons in the loose, they watched every Vale attack like hawks and were swift to punish any error.

Straight from the kick off the Vale went onto the attack when Rob Lamberton fielded a return kick in his own half and set off on one of his dancing runs. The momentum was continued and in the third minute Michael Barker forced his way over in the corner for an unconverted try.

After weathering the early Vale storm Widnes gradually began to exert control, they proved able to snuff out any Vale attacks before they gained any velocity and in the ninth minute they were gifted a score.

A shortened Vale line out on their twenty two went horribly wrong as the ball flew over everyone’s heads to be snapped up by a marauding Widnes player, who grasped the ball to his chest.

The ball was moved crossfield, fly half Kevin Leadbetter chipped to the corner where winger Tom Spencer was the first through the till for a try wide out on the right, Leadbetter added the conversion for a snip seven pointer.

At the end of the first quarter Leadbetter kicked a penalty goal, a situation that galvanised the Vale because for the closing 12 minutes they threw everything at the Widnes defence and eventually Vale’s hard working pack gained a reward for their efforts when the referee ran out of patience with the opposition and awarded the Vale a penalty try converted by Dorrington in the 13th minute.

Vale began the second half very much in the same vein but in the 43rd minute they lost their lead.

A promising Vale maul edged close to the Widnes line but the ball was lost in it darkest recesses and suddenly scrum half Andy O’Neil was off on a solo 70 metre run for a solo run and unconverted try.

It took the Vale only a short while to recover from this set back and tempers started to fray as the tension began to affect all and sundry. Peace maker James Hesketh was sent to the sin bin, but still the pack rolled forward and they were instrumental in the final score of the game.

A solid well coordinated drive had Widnes back pedalling, Billy Swarbrick whipped them along and the decisive moment he received the ball to dive over for an unconverted try in the 54th minute.