Saints v Widnes Vikings
Saints season took another lurch in the wrong direction with this 34-10 home defeat to a Widnes side that couldn’t believe its luck on Friday, writes Graham Henthrone.
The writing was on the wall as early as the third minute as the Vikings had a try disallowed for obstruction.
The Saints had a try of their own chalked off after ten minutes as the referee ruled that Mike Weldon’s pass to Matty Costello was forward as the stand-off was touching down.
Costello’s return from injury was one of the few bright spots in a poor performance.
Admittedly the Saints lost Alex Eckley to a long standing back problem and Josh Eaves to concussion midway through the first half but the remaining players are fit enough to cope.
The Vikings opened the scoring immediately after Eaves had been escorted from the field rolling over the defensive tackle.
Another poor missed tackle from a high bomb allowed the visitors to make easy yards down field and was contributable to Kevin Brown’s yellow card for delaying the play the ball.
Minutes later, in an effort to run down the clock, Brad Billsborough summed up the Saints season so far as he lined up a penalty from just to the left of the sticks. Normally you’d put your mortgage on him but inexplicably he hit the post.
The Vikings finally made their numerical advantage pay as they scored just before the interval.
As always the talk was positive at the break and it seemed to have worked as the Saints were the first on the board in the second period.
A Rob Fairclough high bomb was dropped by the Vikings right winger and from the resultant scrum quick hands along the line saw Costello put Tom Nisbett away beating three men on a tiptoe run down the right touchline.
However, from the kick off the normally reliable Brown knocked on and the confidence washed away in an instant.
Five tries later and the score was getting more embarrassing by the minute before Brad Billsborough jumped out of dummy half to spare some of the Saints blushes.
This was not a performance to remember for the vast majority of players out there today.
Only Chris Kellett, Kev Brown and the outstanding Evan Bullen, whose 70 minute stint to cover for the injured, was crucial and can hold their heads up high. As for the others? That is between them and their consciences.
Tries: Tom Nisbett (45), Brad Billsborough (77).
Goals: Brad Billsborough 1 from 3.
Tries: Danny Walker (22), Brad Walker (38), Keanan Brand (50), Sam Freeman (54), Owen Buckley (59), Tyler Jones (64), Chris Wilson (72).
Goals: Brad Walker 3 from 7.
Half Time: 0-12
Full Time: 10-34
1. Kevin Brown; 5. Tom Nisbett, 3. Sean Croston, 4. Chris Follin, 2. Luke Ward; 6. Matty Costello, 7. Rob Fairclough; 8. Evan Bullen, 9. Josh Eaves, 16. Alex Eckley, 11. Sam Royle, 12. Mike Weldon (C), 13. Callum Hazzard.
Subs: 10. Jordan Olmez, 14. Brad Billsborough, 15. Chris Kellett, 17. Joe Sharratt.
1. Lloyd Roby; 2. Tyler Jones, 3. Owen Buckley, 4. Keanan Brand, 5. Sam Freeman; 6. Chris Wilson, 7. Joseph Lyons (C); 8. Owen Farnworth, 9. Danny Walker, 10. Patrick McConnell, 11. Danny Norman, 12. Brad Walker, 13. Louis Glover.
Subs: 14. Jake Burns, 15. James Rutledge, 16. Daniel King, 17. Luke Draper.