Rugby League: Davies enjoys his good fortune: Warrington stagger back to the top

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The Independent Online
Warrington. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23

Oldham. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

WARRINGTON staggered back to the top of the First Division, but for most of a disappointing display looked no more likely than Oldham to finish the season as champions, writes Dave Hadfield.

The score flattered a mediocre performance after Warrington trailed at half-time to a relegation-haunted side more than matching them for commitment and technique.

It was more a case of Warrington coming down to Oldham's level than one of the team lying one from the foot of the table suddenly finding fresh inspiration.

Warrington needed all the good fortune that was on offer to win by 17 points. The try that put them ahead after 11 minutes came when Jonathan Davies picked up a loose ball after Bob Lindner's pass went to ground and raced 55 yards to score.

For the rest of the half and the start of the second, Oldham were very much in the game. They deserved to take the lead six minutes before the break when Andy Goodway's strong run established a position from which Paddy Mitchell's pass sent in Darren Abram for a try against his first club.

The two-point lead from Steve Kerry's goal lasted until the 44th minute when Craig Teitzel's strength and size took him over.

Two penalties and a drop from Davies took Warrington seven points clear, but they only began to look slightly assured when a flash of skill quite out of character with the rest of the match saw Greg Mackey find Robert Myler with a wonderful 20-yard pass for their third try.

Warrington's fortune extended to the referee's lenient treatment of Davies after he had floored Abram with a perfect right hook with three minutes to play.

It looked as though Davies's record of never being sent off in his rugby league career was in danger, but it was the yellow card, for 10 minutes in the sin-bin, which emerged from the referee's top pocket.

The escape from a match in which Warrington should have seen their championship hopes dented was completed when Kevin Ellis latched on to an interception from David Bradbury to score from 70 yards out.

Warrington: Penny; Forster, Bateman, Davies, Myler; Ellis (Elliott, 36), Mackey; Teitzel (Hilton, 60), Thursfield, Phillips, Darbyshire (Ellis, 56), Gregory, Shelford.

Oldham: Gibson; Heslop, Irwin, Abram, Ranson; Mitchell (Kuiti, 52), Terry; Sherratt, Stephenson (Tupaea, 74), Tupaea (Goodway, 29), Lindner, Bradbury, Kuiti (Green, 36).

Referee: D Atkin (Hull).