Warrington 48 v Manchester 22
By Tim Harper
A Game of Two Halves
Warrington 48 v Manchester 22
A game of two halves
On a day made for flowing rugby the two teams displayed their best attacking skills in separate halves of the game.
In the first half, Manchester came out of the blocks quickly and mounted sustained pressure in the Warrington half, with good interchange of passing and driving play. If they lost the ball then Manchester kept the pressure on by continually hitting Warrington behind the gain line. The pressure eventually told with Manchester creating an overlap on the left side for Ben Lewis to score wideout, the conversion was missed.
The momentum was all with Manchester, however, they suffered a setback when Brodie hurt his back and had to come off, Enna on as replacement.
From turnover ball Manchester were able to clear their lines and mount pressure in the Warrington 22, once again the ball was moved wide left with Sam Davis scoring in the corner, the conversion missed 10v0 to the visitors.
The next 10 minutes saw play ebb and flow as both sides managed to break out of their own half when under pressure.
Manchester received a penalty and from the resulting line out again created an overlap on the left side, this time Ben Lewis was caught in two minds and his boot caught in the grass twisting his ankle; needing to go off he was replaced by Joe Houghton.
Manchester then won a series of penalties, the last of which was under the post, however, rather than take the easy 3 points, they opted to run it wide on the left again only to be denied their third try by a strong defence.
With half time approaching, Manchester were left rueing their missed chances to go well clear when they compounded their error; a missed tackle in midfield allowed a clean break and from their own 22 Warrington were able to score a try, which was converted. 10v7 was scant reward for Manchester’s domination of the first half.
As the sides turned around so did the form. For the next 25 minutes, a missed penalty kick apart, Warrington were dominant in all phases of play as Manchester seemed to run out of energy, ideas and lost the ability to hang on to the ball when in possession. This position was not helped by a further injury, with Rich McCartney having to go off to be replaced by an injured Brodie as the backs were shuffled.
During this time, Warrington executed all their chances with aplomb, creating overlaps and clean breaks almost at will, to run in 6 unanswered tries, only one of which was converted. With the score now at 41v10 to the home side, all there was left to play for was pride and a try bonus point.
To their credit Manchester came back into the game, scoring the next try, which was answered by a Warrington score. In the last minute Warrington offended from the restart, the penalty was kicked deep into the 22. A catch and drive saw at least 10 Manchester players join in the maul, for Doug Day to get his second try of the day, which he converted, at least a bonus point had been salvaged.