Widnes 30-20 Sheffield: Lawton red and trying to break the Yorkshire curse

Widnes are up to seventh in the Championship table following a 30-20 win over Sheffield.

Lawton red card

Adam Lawton has been a stand out in the recent run of form, which has taken in three league wins as well as two narrow defeats to high-fliers Featherstone and London Broncos.

The big back-rower has started to hit the line on a regular basis, has cut out the handling errors that plagued him in early season, and is now being pinpointed as a threat by everyone – and despite being targeted, isn’t being stopped. It doesn’t feel like very often in the past 20 years that Widnes have had a gun weapon like this, so it’s great to see him being used over and over again.

Unfortunately, he was sent off right at the end of the win over Sheffield for this incident:

It seemed strange at the time and certainly on replay, it looks a harsh red card. A penalty probably, but Lawton is simply stepping across the line to try and intercept an attack, as any defender would. The reaction of the Sheffield player probably makes it look worse than it was, and here’s hoping the RFL disciplinary don’t dish out a ban, as it would be a blow.

Either way, Lawton will be fine to face Bradford this Sunday, as Championship bans aren’t reviewed until the following week. Perhaps more critical is ensuring he is available for the game against Halifax the following week, which promises to be pivotal in terms of Widnes’ play-off hopes, especially if they are turned over at Odsal.

Tyrer going round and round

If anyone can figure out how Widnes can get another 10 years out of Steve Tyrer, make themselves known.

The centre, 32, has been outstanding since returning to the club ahead of the 2021 season; and it’s just a shame that the best decade of his career was spent the wrong side of the Pennines at Halifax.

A threat with ball in hand in attack, its his work in the defensive, relieving sets at the wrong end of the pitch that is invaluable to this Widnes team.

The sort of experienced clubman that the club desperately needs to make sure can stay around for a couple of years to nurture the younger players in the side through.

Widnes must win in Yorkshire

If the Vikings are going to reach the play-offs, they must win plenty in Yorkshire between now and the end of the season.

Toulouse and Featherstone remain the clear favourites and you can now bet on rugby with crypto if you want to have a flutter.

Unfortunately, they have a pretty dismal record across the Pennines, as this run of 25 defeats in 27 games highlights:

  • June 21 – Featherstone (cup) – L 18-24
  • April 21 – Batley – L 16-48
  • March 20 – Dewsbury – L 8-20
  • September 19 – Dewsbury – W 22-8
  • August 19 – Sheffield – L 10-30
  • July 19 – Halifax – L 10-40
  • June 19 – Bradford – L 0-62
  • June 19 – Featherstone – L 4-22
  • May 19 – Wakefield (cup) – L 6-26
  • April 19 – York – L 10-17
  • April 19 – Batley – L 18-20
  • September 18 – Hull KR (S8) – L 0-30
  • July 18 – Leeds – L 0-34
  • July 18 – Hull KR – L 26-24
  • June 18 – Hull FC – L 24-31
  • June 18 – Wakefield – L 22-44
  • May 18 – Huddersfield – L 18-28
  • April 18 – Hull KR – L 12-31
  • February 18 – Castleford – L 12-13
  • September 17 – Hull KR (S8) – L 6-12
  • August 17 – Halifax (S8) – W 36-12
  • July 17 – Huddersfield – L 0-40
  • May 17 – Castleford – L 22-32
  • May 17 – Leeds – L 22-42
  • April 17 – Wakefield – L 4-30
  • March 17 – Hull – L 12-32
  • September 16 – Castleford (S8) – L 26-40

You might remember the 23-22 win over Leeds at Headingley in July 3rd, which was actually Widnes’ fourth win over the Pennines that year, having already beaten Wakefield, Huddersfield and Halifax that year.

The last time Widnes won in Yorkshire was the final day of the 2019 season, away at Dewsbury. They have only managed two wins there since the middle of 2016; and have actually won more games in other countries (two in France and one in Wales) than they have in Yorkshire in that time.

With away games to come at Bradford, Halifax, York and Dewsbury, it’s imperative for Widnes to pick up at least some points if they are to have any chance of making the top six.

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