Widnes 48-19 Bolton
Bolton unable to make superior forward firepower tell.
Widnes 48 – 19 Bolton
Rugby is essentially a simple game: when you’ve got the ball keep it, look after it and advance it up the pitch in whatever way works best for you. When they’ve got the ball put pressure on them so they make a mistake and give you the ball back.
After last Sunday’s chastening defeat the squad had trained enthusiastically during the week and knew they had to show more energy and determination against Widnes. From the kick off it was encouraging for the travelling support to see Bolton much more up for the contest this time round.
From the start the larger Bolton pack had the advantage in the scrum and at close quarters, but the more mobile Widnes side were able to take advantage of any mistakes and use their superior power and speed out wide to punish the visitors’ errors. After a soft first try from the base of a scrum the second try was a case in point: Bolton gave away a penalty near the half way line and a quick tap and quick passes took the ball deep into Bolton’s 22. Bolton’s defence held firm for 10 phases of play, but eventually Widnes were able to find space out wide and crash over. A further try followed in similar circumstances before Bolton fought back as Milo Holmes wriggled over after a quickly taken tap penalty. The visitors were more than holding their own at this stage and, with Matt Moore, Joe McHugh and Ollie Thompson carrying the ball strongly, they looked likely to trouble the scoreboard again. It was not to be, however, as carelessness in ball retention and a lack of accuracy at the breakdown in the face of resolute Widnes defence allowed the home team to turn the ball over and move the ball wide to their dangerous runners. With the age-group laws of the game negating Bolton’s superiority in the scrum and some unconvincing defence out wide the home team stretched away on the scoreboard.
The second half continued in the same vein: Bolton made ground down the middle with Sam Burgess, Keir Kennick and Alfie Kay running well, but were unable to finish off their good work. Loose kicks were punished mercilessly as Widnes scored a couple of excellent length of the field tries before Ollie Thompson crashed over for Bolton. Widnes came back again with a couple of tries through a tiring defence, but Bolton, to their credit, had the last say as Thompson went over once again following pressure from a lineout.
A quick glance at the scoreboard would have you thinking this was a one-sided contest, but the Bolton team gave as good as they got for the majority of an entertaining match. It was a step up from their previous performances, but there is still much work to be done to turn opportunities into points and enthusiasm into results.
Report :Nick Holmes
Photos :Mark Byrne