By Steve Phillips
A Friday night at Victoria Park saw a closely contested match between the Reserve teams with the result not clear until the final kick of the match.
Both sides worked hard in the first half but a combination of either good defence or just the inability to find that final pass meant that there was only one score, which went the way of Halifax. Wolves weren’t helped in the 20th minute with Sean Kenny having to leave the field with an injury from which he didn’t return, meaning that Gene Ormsby had to move into the halves.
Warrington were coming out of defence following a knock-on by Halifax. However, the intended pass down Wolves’ right side was intercepted by Sam Smeaton who raced in unopposed from 20 metres out. Nick Rawsthorne added the extras moving the score to 0-6. Despite both sides trying hard neither were able to register anymore points in the half.
Sustained Wolves’ pressure in the second half finally paid off with two quick tries, with the first coming in the 61st minute. Halifax were forced to drop out after knocking the ball dead. Warrington drove the ball up the middle to get within a few metres of the line. Dec Patton took the pass from dummy half, shaping to kick across the field, he then switched the attack down the blindside and chipped into the corner for Alex Bridge to catch and touch down in the corner. Patton was unsuccessful with the conversion 4-6.
Warrington went straight on the attack following the kick off; repeat sets ensured they maintained their attacking position and it paid off. Sam Wilde got to within five metres following a Warrington scrum, a quick play-the-ball and pass from Harry Files to Joe Ryan allowed him to get over the line, and he spun in the tackle and was able to ground the ball. Patton had no problems with adding the extras and Warrington lead for the first time in the match 10-6.
Halifax ensured they stayed in the game with the next score. Billy Gaylor’s quick feet near the line allowed him to evade the Warrington defence and score to the right of the posts. Again no issues for Rawsthorne to convert and it was Halifax back with the lead again with ten minutes left to play.
Going into the final play of the game Warrington attacked from deep, a penalty ensured they got themselves into the Halifax half. A drive from Dan Murray put them on the front foot and then a wonderful reverse chip from Patton into space allowed Jack Johnson to collect the ball on the bounce and score under the posts. Patton again added the extras as the final whistle blow ensuring a 16-12 win for Warrington.
A relieved Reserves head coach Stuart Barrow had the following comments to make after the match: “Very hard fought battle against a very well drilled team. We struggled despite lots of possession in the second half to break down the best defensive unit we have faced this year so far. With only one recognised half after an early injury, Dec Patton and Jack Johnson managed to come up with a little price of individual skill to rescue the result right on the buzzer. We will learn from this game and continue to develop as a group.”
Jack Johnson, David Thompson, Richard Harris, Gene Ormsby, Alex Bridge, Sean Kenny, Declan Patton, Ben Evans, Harry Files, Daniel Murray, Sam Wilde, Jacque Peet, Joe Ryan.
Subs: Kane Ditchfield, John Cookson, Danny Rasool.
Tries: Bridge, Ryan, Johnson
Goals: Patton (3)
Nick Rawsthorne; Jake Ecclestone, James Woodburn-Hall, Sam Smeaton, Jamie Stringer; Josh Greenwood-McDonald, Billy Gaylor; Luke Nelmes, Brandon Moore, Elliot Morris, Martin Riley, Ed Barber, Aiden Hema.
Subs: Lewis Hosty, Bob Holroyd, Jack Georgiou, Jordan Syme, Will Calcott, Jordan Baldwin
Tries: – Smeaton, Gaylor
Goals: – Rawsthorne (2)