The previous week’s impressive win made this flat performance at Warrington even more disappointing, the last quarter in particular very much out of character.
Despite the final score, the teams were evenly matched for long periods and it took 20 minutes before the lines were breached. From an unpromising position, several tackles were missed so that Warrington were able to score under the posts (7-0).
Manchester’s kicking game served only to put them under pressure as the ball was ran back or kicks comfortably returned so that the territory advantage was now more often with the home side. The half hour point passed however before any tangible benefit was seen, a straightforward penalty making it 10-0.
Manchester responded well, forcing Warrington’s defence to hold the ball up as Manchester crossed the line, with the ball from the resulting scrum spun wide. Doug Day was forced into touch as he stretched for a try in the corner and Warrington escaped their first real period of pressure. Try scoring opportunities continued to be few and far between so that Warrington’s narrow 10-0 lead was held at half time.
Manchester’s best and worst quarters then materialised after the break! A good start saw Manchester camped in Warrington’s 22 with the ball being moved well to try to break the well organised defence. When the hosts were forced into conceding a penalty, the easy points were rejected as Manchester looked for more from their efforts. Unfortunately this proved too greedy as the ball was played, spilled, and after ten minutes of pressure the ten point gap was maintained. Warrington were more pragmatic in their game management however, and when they were awarded a penalty at the end of Manchester’s best quarter, slotted it neatly to widen the gap (13-0).
This now put more pressure on the visitors and it showed in some panicky defence. A desperate clearance kick was scooped up with gaps appearing all over the place so that it became 20-0 with only ten minutes left to play.
Warrington sensed their opportunity of a late bonus point, clearly coinciding with Manchester sensing that the game was up for them. A third try was soon yielded when a clearance kick into the Warrington half was well fielded but the follow up runners were barely resisted so that another try under the posts was converted to 27-0.
Even though time was running out, the body language of the two teams suggested that the bonus point try was going to be scored. With Manchester defending a narrow channel to Warrington’s right, the overlap created by their backs was alarming so that an inevitable try was scored as soon as the ball was released. 32-0 may not have been the story of the whole match but a bonus point to nil summed up the feeling at the end as Warrington celebrated and Manchester returned home pointless.