20 hours ago
A first-ever hat-trick from Jon Clarke helped ease the pressure on Warrington coach Paul Cullen with a 44-12 win that plunged rivals Widnes deeper into relegation trouble in the engage Super League.
The Wolves, who lost both derby fixtures last season, ran in nine tries to crush their near-neighbours and would have enjoyed a greater victory margin but for an off day with the boot by skipper Lee Briers.
Briers managed just two successes from his seven attempts at goal before handing over the duties to Chris Bridge, who landed two from three, but it hardly mattered as the Wolves cut loose to register their best win of the season.
Former Wigan and London Broncos hooker Clarke, revelling in his new loose-forward role, led the way by producing a devastating display of finishing.
In a tentative opening it was veteran forward Terry O?Connor, the Vikings captain, who came up with the first error and Warrington punished his knock-on by claiming the first try on seven minutes.
The Widnes defence failed to spot a set move from the scrum and opened up invitingly for Clarke to race through a gap to touch down at the corner for his first try.
The visitors hit back on 15 minutes when Australian centre Aaron Moule went through some poor tackling close to the line to claim his seventh try of the season.
Stand-off Stephen Myler, making his first appearance of the season after recovering from a hamstring injury, edged his side in front with the conversion.
But their lead lasted only five minutes, with Wolves second rower Mike Wainwright taking Bridge?s pass 10 metres out to crash over.
Myler levelled the scores with a 26th-minute penalty after Widnes second rower Mick Cassidy had been tackled high in front of the Warrington posts.
The home side were marginally the better side in the first half and it was no surprise when they edged back in front nine minutes before the break when makeshift prop Ben Westwood demonstrated exceptional strength to force his way over the line despite the attentions of three defenders.
The position was set up by Briers? pilfering of the ball from the grasp of Widnes loose forward Simon Finnigan as he attempted to clear his own 20-metre area.
The Wolves skipper this time hit a post with his conversion attempt but he was finally on the mark in injury time to convert a superb try from Great Britain centre Martin Gleeson, who wrong-footed his opposite number to create the opening.
Widnes briefly got back in the match when big substitute forward Matthew Whitaker crashed over at the corner to bring his side back to 18-12 three minutes into the second half.
But the fightback was short-lived as Warrington began to get on top.
Second rower Paul Wood had a try disallowed by the video referee on 50 minutes for a double movement but there was no stopping Clarke shortly afterwards when he took Briers? pass and dummied his way over for his second try.
Briers was again off target with the conversion but he made it two successes from six attempts with a penalty which brought up his 1,500th point for the club.
Warrington made sure of the win when Clarke supported a break by Westwood to complete his hat-trick on the hour and they piled on the agony for their visitors with three further tries in the last quarter.
Kiwi international winger Henry Fa?afili intercepted a David Mills pass to scoot 40 metres and raced onto Briers? kick to claim a second try while Briers also touched down after a brilliant solo run.
Warrington: Grose, Faa?fili, Martin Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Gaskell, Briers, Bridge, Hilton, Mark Gleeson, Westwood, P. Wood, Wainwright, Clarke.
Replacements: Appo, Pickersgill, Stevens, Lima.
Widnes: Rowlands, Emelio, Moule, Whittle, Ballard, Myler, Hulse, O?Connor, Smith, Mills, Cassidy, Stankevitch, Finnigan.
Replacements: Crook, O?Neill, Whitaker, Frame.
Warrington (18) 44
Tries: Clarke 3, Wainwright, Westwood, Martin Gleeson, Briers, Faa?fili 2. Goals: Briers 2, Bridge 2.
Widnes (8) 12
Tries: Moule, Whitaker. Goals: Myler 2.
Referee: Ronnie Laughton (Barnsley)
Thanks to: http://www.superleague.co.uk for another excellent article.