The first real chance of the game came after six minutes. On the last tackle, ten out from the visitors line, the hosts opted to run the ball down the short side. Konrad Hurrell being held up just a metre away from the line.
The hosts weren’t to be kept out for much longer. After 14 minutes, James Bell ran the ball in and threw a pass to his outside just before contact to Curtis Sironen who strolled through the broken Vikings line to score in the right corner. Ben Davies nailed the tough conversion, 6-0 the hosts led.
25 minutes in the lead was further extended. Jonny Lomax made a break down the left edge and fed it to the supporting, and returning, Lewis Dodd who went over from close range. Davies converted, 12-0 Saints led.
With six minutes of the half to go, Joey Lussick was sent to the sin bin for stopping a quick Vikings play the ball during a break downfield.
With less than a minute of the first half to go, Saints once again worked the ball to their right edge on the last tackle but Jon Bennison was held up a metre short on the line. That was the final chance of the half, as Saints led 12-0 at the break in the Mark Percival Testimonial at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
It took just six minutes for Saints to increase their lead in the second half. The ball was loose on the floor and James Bell capped an impressive individual display by reacting first to score. Davies was unable to convert as his attempt bounced out off the post, 16-0.
Widnes’ first spell of pressure on the Red Vee’s line came in the 58th minute as they were awarded a penalty in the Saints 20. After initially being stopped two metres short of the line, Shane Grady was held up over the line on the last tackle as the hosts’ defence stood firm.
Minutes later the Vikings did go over. Saints fumbled the ball in their own 20 and during the set the visitors spread the ball from left to right and Ryan Ince finished in the corner. Tom Gilmore added the extras, 16-6 Saints led. The visitors thought they had further reduced the deficit a few minutes later as they dove in near the left touchline, but the touch judge had already raised his flag so the Red Vee still led by ten.
As we entered the final five minutes of the game, Widnes went over again. A move from right to left ended with Brad Holroyd cutting in from the wing and he was able to ground the ball before being forced into touch. Gilmore converted, 16-12 Saints led.
The final play of the game saw the Vikings break down their left wing and Holroyd kick the ball back inside, but some great cover defence from Will Roberts saw him walk the ball out for a goal-line dropout which ran down the final few seconds of the game to seal the 16-12 victory for the hosts in Mark Percival’s Testimonial!
Saints Team: Jon Bennison, Jumah Sambou, Konrad Hurrell, Ben Davies, Tee Ritson, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Agnatius Paasi, Joey Lussick, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Sione Mata’utia, Curtis Sironen, James Bell.
Interchanges: Jake Wingfield, Dan Norman, Sam Royle, Lewis Baxter, Taylor Pemberton, George Delaney, Daniel Moss, Ben Lane, McKenzie Buckley, Wes Bruines, Jake Burns, Keane Gilford, Eliot Peposhi, Alfie Pyke, Will Roberts, Jonathon Vaughan, Dayon Sambou.
Tries: Curtis Sironen (14), Lewis Dodd (25), James Bell (46)
Conversions: Ben Davies (2 from 3)
Sin Bin: Joey Lussick (35)
Widnes Vikings Team: Jack Owens, Ryan Millar, Matty Fleming, Joe Edge, Kieron Dixon, Joe Lyons, Tom Gilmore, Owen Farnworth, Matty Fozard, Kyle Amor, Shane Grady, Sam Wilde, Adam Lawton.
Interchanges: Liam Bent, Aaron Brown, Oliver Davies, Callum Field, Lewis Hatton, Brad Holroyd, Ryan Ince, Jordan Johnstone, William Tilleke, Anthony Walker.
Tries: Ryan Ince (62), Brad Holroyd (75)
Conversions: Tom Gilmore (2 from 2)