Widnes Vikings 28-32 Warrington Wolves

Match #25 | 22/06/2003 | Halton Stadium | (Super League)
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A late try from Warrington centre Graham Appo gave the visitors a victory in an enthralling derby match at the Halton Stadium. This win means that the Wolves go above Widnes in the SuperLeague table.Warrington started well and raced into a 16-0 lead but an inspired substitution brought Widnes back into things just before half time. Phil Cantillon’s pace and quick thinking undone the Warrington defence and by half time Widnes were just two adrift at 16-14. Tries from Cantillon and prop forward Julian O’Neill plus two conversions and a penalty from Jules O’Neill made the half time break a little more pleasing for the home supporters.

The second half was a real topsy turvy battle and Widnes took the lead for the first time when Shane Millard scooted the ball from dummy half and two lovely drops of the shoulder got him round the helpless Warrington defence, and he went over under the posts. Another penalty from Jules O’Neill stretched Widnes’ lead to 22-16 but Warrington struck back when Appo went over for his first try. Widnes though carried on ploughing away and got the reward when Adam Hughes went over. Widnes led 28-22 before Warrington substitute Gary Hulse came on and he hadn’t been on the pitch for five minutes when he burst through the Widnes back line to level things up once again. Both sides pushed for the decisive point or points, Lee Briers missing two drop goal attempts. But then on the last tackle a sublime chip from Jules O’Neill looked to have given Widnes a last chance but Appo intercepted and sprinted 60 metres to score with only Robert Relf anywhere near him.

Warrington stand off Lee Briers, who appeared to be carrying an injury throughout the match, missed what could have turned out to be a crucial conversion which left the score at 32-28 in Warrington’s favour. Then, in the final minute a moment of genius from Jules O’Neill saw him break free from the Warrington defence only to be held up a metre out. He somehow managed to off load to outstanding hooker Shane Millard who only had to fall over the line, but the ball was just out of reach and it spilled to the ground, leaving the hopeful home fans dejected at the end.

Two interception tries for the visitors was the key to this superb away victory for Warrington but Widnes can’t afford to give teams a 16 point start and expect to win. Widnes have a tough couple of weeks ahead as they play Leeds, St Helens, Hull, Bradford, Wigan and Castleford. Its hard to see where the points are going to come from if they are going to challenge Warrington for a top six play off spot.