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Rugby Union: Widnes 36-29 Kendal
Updated 4:58pm Wednesday 26th March 2014 in Rugby
SKIPPER Dave Welsh scored twice as Widnes avenged their last-gasp defeat at Mint Bridge in November to steal a march in the race for third in North One West.
Kendal were awarded a penalty try as Dan Lowther also touched down in the first half although tries from Kevin Leadbetter, Matty Smith and Welsh ensured Widnes led 24-14 at the break.
In the second period, Michael Lamb and Paul O’Connor crossed the line for the hosts while tries from Jordan Johnson and Brad Jackson saw Kendal leave Heath Road with a double bonus point.
With Duncan Green unavailable, Robbie Collinson made his first start for the Black and Ambers at hooker after impressing as a substitute in Kendal’s previous away game at Liverpool St. Helens.
Quick handling and impressive ball retention saw left wing Leadbetter open the scoring for Widnes after just four minutes, with full-back Smith adding the conversion.
The visitors were forced to reorganise after Mark Carruthers was injured in the build up to the home side’s try, with Jackson replacing the right wing.
A further passing move saw Widnes build on their lead with Smith crossing the line after seven minutes and, while the conversion was missed, the hosts still enjoyed a 12-0 advantage.
Kendal were soon back in the game as the pack forced a penalty from a Widnes scrum, with Richard Harryman breaking through before Lowther finished the move and Chris Park converted.
Widnes replied and extended their advantage five minutes later after a long kick down the right touchline forced Kendal into a defensive lineout, with Welsh scoring after a period of pressure.
Trailing 17-7, Kendal replied on the half-hour mark as a penalty try was awarded following the illegal stopping of the away side’s drive, with Park converting successfully.
However, Widnes established a ten-point half-time advantage as Welsh, despite hesitation to go for the line in an earlier phase, went over for his second try of the afternoon with Smith converting.
Billy Coxon replaced Glen Chesher at loosehead prop at the beginning of the second period as Widnes again started brightly with scrum-half Lamb finishing off a passing move.
Kendal endured further disruption with Reece Tomlinson forced from the field with Chesher returning, while Liam Nicholson replaced Garry Holmes after an hour
Midway through the half Kendal reduced the deficit against the run of play as Harryman and Coxon combined in midfield before Johnson touched down after being found by Lowther.
With the Kendal scrum disrupted Widnes started to gain the upper hand, paving the way Paul O’Connor to score as Leadbetter converted.
There were only five minutes remaining when Kendal narrowed the gap, the ball moved to the left as Jackson powered over, with Park successfully kicking a tricky conversion.
And in injury time, Kendal secured a second bonus point as Park converted a difficult penalty as Widnes moved four points ahead of Kendal in the league table with three fixtures of the season remaining.
Widnes: Paul Borg, Gareth Moss, Arnie Haydock, Harry Valey, Matt Tindall, Mike Garrity, Tom McMuldroch, Rob Critchley, Michael Lamb, Phil Glover, Kevin Leadbetter, Gareth Riley, Dave Welsh, Paul O’Connor, Matt Smith. Replacements: Justin Winstanley, Ben Glover, Gavin Hatton
Kendal: Glen Chesher, Robbie Collinson, Richard Harryman, Liam Hayton, Reece Tomlinson, Garry Holmes, Matty Houghton, James Thompson, James Gough (c), Dan Lowther, Jordan Johnson, Ian Voortman, Alistair Thompson, Mark Carruthers, Chris Park. Replacements: Billy Coxon, Liam Nicholson, Brad Jackson
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