Wilmslow 13 Warrington 20

WARRINGTON maintained their mid-table position in North One West with this gritty win over Wilmslow, which saw them score 20 points without reply in the second half after being 13-0 down at the turn around.

Wilmslow started to take control up front virtually from the kick-off.

They ruled the line outs and proved to be more successful at the breakdown, although Warrington proved more than a match in the set-scrums.

As a result, the visitors were starved of possession and Wilmslow’s imperious stand-off ensured that the game was played mostly in Warrington territory with some very astute kicking.

Ironically, Warrington were awarded a penalty 30 yards out following a rare attacking phase but Pat Roberts, uncharacteristically, fluffed the kick and Warrington seemed set for a hard day at the office.

Wilmslow soon showed that they were wearing their kicking boots when they took the lead with a penalty.

Warrington were then forced onto the back foot and their defence was severely tested by relentless Wilmslow attacks.

Eventually this constant pressure brought a minor indiscretion at a breakdown from Ashley Rockey and the Warrington number eight, who had a magnificent game barring this single lapse, was consigned to the sin-bin.

Wilmslow immediately exploited their temporary numerical advantage by moving the ball wide and scoring a good try close to the posts.

The conversion gave them a 10-point lead and this was increased to 13 on the stroke of half time with a second penalty.

The second half saw a dramatic change in fortunes – and in scores.

Warrington finally found their kicking game, particularly through Pat Roberts and Tom Wood.

This strategy penned Wilmslow in their own half and they were rewarded with their first try when Jake Ashall burst through and from the breakdown the ball flashed across the backline before Kevin Jones touched down in the corner.

Pat Roberts made up for his first half miss with an excellent conversion from the touchline.

And it was the Warrington full back who reduced the Wilmslow lead to just three points 10 minutes later when he kicked a penalty from 35 yards.

Warrington returned to the attack immediately and a 60 yard clearance kick from Kevin Jones put the visitors in a strong position 10 yards out.

From the line out, the ball was moved wide and Steve Pilkington evaded a couple of tackles before handing on to Kieran Hughes and the little maestro danced over to nail his only real chance in the match.

Pat Roberts was again successful with the conversion.

Wilmslow came back but Warrington now had their measure and the game was sealed with five minutes to go with a second Pat Roberts’ penalty.

“Self-belief was the basis of this excellent win,” said coach Darren Abram.

“We also adapted our game plan in the second half to suit the conditions and match the opposition strengths.

“We must now play the two league leaders in our last three games, beginning with Wirral on Saturday at home.

“This will be some game.”