Widnes Vikings 34-28 Leeds Rhinos

Match #13 | 22/06/2002 | Halton Stadium | (Super League)
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Widnes Vikings completed the double over Leeds Rhinos at the Halton Stadium last night in front of 5,572 screaming fans.Leeds rejects Phil Cantillon and Adam Hughes proved a point to their former employers as they both scored tries. For the first try, Hughes went over on the sixth tackle as Craig Weston took two Leeds players out of the game to pass to Hughes on the overlap who touched down. To add to that Barry Eaton scored a superb touchline goal.

The second Widnes try came just minutes later when Eaton’s high kick bounced back into Hughes’ hands and the centre drove over. Ben Walker, the Leeds fullback, should have dealt with it under no pressure. The fullback flapped at it to give Widnes an opportunity to pull two scores clear. The Vikings took it and Eaton converted the kick for 12-0. Chris Percival went over thanks to a great offload by Anthony Farrell, another ex-Leeds man. It all started with good anticipation from Adam Hughes who intercepted Matt Diskin’s pass on the forty metre line. Eaton missed a difficult kick.

Leeds pulled a try back when Stevie McCurrie dropped the ball in the Leeds half and Darren Ward put Danny McGuire away for a 80 metre run to the line. Ben Walker added the two points. Phil Cantillon then drove over after a quick play the ball by Stuart Spruce who had created the chance. Widnes’ fourth try of the night was converted by Eaton. Eaton had added a penalty from under the sticks moments before. Adam Hughes popped up once more when Weston again put him through for a hat-trick on the stroke of half time. A perfect kick from Eaton made it 30-6 in Widnes’ favour at half time.

In the second half Leeds fought back with a try from Keith Senior who capitalised on a missed tackle by Weston. Walker somehow managed to miss from under the posts. Controversy followed when Ben Walker went over after what looked a forward pass from Cummins. It was two metres forward as TV replays showed and it looked as if Widnes could be robbed. Ben Walker got the two to make it 30-16. The home side bounced back when Adam Hughes went over for his fourth try of the night to steady the Widnes ship. Steve Carter and Phil Cantillon linking up for Hughes to make it 34-16. The conversion was missed by the otherwise consistent Eaton. Willie Poching went over to touch down behind the posts using some good footwork after nice central work by Ryan Sheridan. Walker made sure he scored the easy kick this time and it pulled Leeds back to 34-22. Leeds were coming back.

A dreadful mistake by Chris Percival and Paul Atcheson, who mucked about in the try area and Percival’s pass went past Atcheson and Cummins, following Walker’s kick, dove on the ball for an easy try. Widnes were chucking it away and Walker’s kick clawed the Rhinos within six points of the Vikings. Cummins thought he had pulled it back but the video referee ruled it out as his foot had gone out of play as he touched down in the corner. Widnes held on with captain Steve Carter leading by example to give the Vikings an all important two points. The Rhinos won the second half by 22-4 in a game of two halves that Widnes managed to keep hold of at the end.

Maybe if that try when Cummins passed it forward didn’t count the game would have been easier for the Vikings. The referee was very disappointing and how he missed that was unbelievable. Mistakes by the Vikings, notably by Percival, also put themselves under the cosh at the end. A good win though and the Vikings go level on points with Hull and Wigan in the playoff places.