Warrington failed to go back to the top of the Super League table as they fell victim to an unlikely double at the hands of an inspired 12-man Widnes.
The Vikings had Hep Cahill dismissed for an ugly high tackle just before the break, apparently ending their chances of getting anything out of a match in which they had been highly competitive up to that point.
They continued to defy the odds after that with Jack Owens scoring two tries and a touchline conversion.
Perhaps appropriately for a trophy sometimes regarded as being of debatable value in the greater scheme of things, the League Leaders Shield for finishing top of the table has seen a number of contenders of late. Wigan and Huddersfield have had their turns on top, but the Wolves almost expected to resume control with a victory to avenge their shock defeat by their neighbours in March.
The Vikings were not helped by the late withdrawal with a calf injury of Gareth Hock, who scored four tries in the weekend defeat by Castleford.
They held their own in torrential rain for 15 minutes, but then Cahill was penalised for interfering at the ruck and the ball was moved crisply to the left for Simon Grix to score and convert. Less edifying was the sight of fans of the two clubs briefly fighting at one end of the ground and Widnes’ young hooker, Grant Gore, being carried off on his first Super League start.
Mistakes were plentiful in the difficult conditions, but the Vikings exerted enough pressure to allow Owens to score with a pick-up on the half- volley from Kevin Brown’s kick.
Owens missed the conversion, but Widnes were far closer approaching half-time than they could have imagined. Then they were reduced to 12 men when Cahill was sent off for felling Brett Hodgson, who also had to be carried off.
But, incredibly, they continued to compete after the break and even took the lead through Patrick Ah Van. Owens missed the kick but scored his second try and converted it soon after to make the improbable a reality.
Warrington: Hodgson; J Monaghan, Bridge, Grix, Riley; Ratchford, M Monaghan; Hill, Higham, Wood, Waterhouse, Westwood, McCarthy. Substitutes used: Dwyer, Laithwaite, Harrison, Cooper.
Widnes: Hanbury; A0h Van, Winterstein, Phelps, Owens; Brown, Mellor; O’Carroll, Gore, Kavanagh, Allen, Leuluai, Cahill. Substitutes used: Joseph, Lawton, Isa.
Referee: P Bentham
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