Warrington Outmuscled By Blackburn
By David Jervis
Game much closer than score liner suggests
Warrington 22 Blackburn 36
After a very tight first half, when only five points separated the sides at the break, an interception try five minutes into the second period saw Blackburn step up their game and run out eventual winners. The result sees Warrington maintain their sixth place in North 1 West but the next two weeks are crucial as they face challenges of games against Stockport and Carlisle, who are currently league leaders.
Blackburn demonstrated their awesome forward power from the start and continuous pressure eventually created a gap for their right centre to force his way over. The try was converted.
Warrington replied from the re-start, when they reclaimed the ball, which they moved left and then right before Keiron Hughes found space and fed Tom Arnold, who side-stepped the cover to touch down. Darren Norman converted from near the touchline to level the scores.
Ten minutes later, Blackburn’s confidence in their pack was rewarded when they were awarded a penalty and elected to take the scrimmage. The ball was well won and then flashed across to the wing for a copy book try. Warrington responded straight away and showed patience in the visitors’ 22 before Tom Wood used his strength to crash over. Darren Norman’s conversion saw Warrington take the lead for the first time.
The lead was soon increased to five points with a well-struck Norman penalty but when Clem O’Rourke was strangely sin-binned, Blackburn used their temporary numerical advantage to score with a driving maul following a line-out. The sides seemed set to go into the second half level but, in the last minute of the first period, they reclaimed the ball from a drop-out in their 22 and released their left winger who crossed to make the score 17-22 at the turnaround.
Five minutes into the second half, Warrington seemed set for a sweeping attacking move but a loose pass was intercepted by the Blackburn centre, who galloped forty yards to touch down under the posts and allow an easy conversion. The visitors’ pack then strated to turn the screw and although Warrington’s defence was resolute and stalwart, it was eventually breached and Blackburn had a 19 point lead.
However, the last word went to Warrington when they provided good ball from a scrum on the right and the backs handled well before the pocket dynamo Tom McEnniff squeezed in at the corner.
“We were bullied by their excellent forwards,” conceded coach Andy Roberts. “However, the lads stuck at it and the game was a lot closer than the scoreline suggests. We now face an important two weeks and I am confident that the team can step up to the plate.”