Rugby League: Davies' pace makes for safe passage: Trinity outdone

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The Independent Online
Warrington . . . . . .32

Wakefield Trinity. . .14

JONATHAN DAVIES made a highly successful debut for his new club, even if it was partially overshadowed by another Warrington Welshman, Allan Bateman.

Bateman scored three tries and could have had a remarkable fourth, but it was Davies who did most to put Warrington on the way to what was eventually a comfortable victory.

A narrow advantage after a closely contested first half was built upon his ability to pull the Wakefield defence out of position by surprising them with his acceleration. An early example produced the position from which Greg Mackey sent Kelly Shelford sliding in for the first try.

A penalty conceded by Nigel Bell, when he tried to bundle Davies into touch after another telling break, allowed Shelford to send Bateman over for the first of his hat-trick.

Davies also kicked three goals in the first half, but Warrington were prevented from taking control by two tries in quick succession, which put Wakefield ahead midway through the half.

Richard Goddard and Gary Spencer opened up the defence with startling ease for Andy Mason to score the first. Spencer then ignored an overlap to slip an inside ball for Gary Christie to reap a reward from his roving commission by scoring the second.

With Billy Conway kicking three goals, Trinity, stripped of all their most saleable assets during the close season, remained well in contention.

After the break, however, the lack of size and penetration in their forwards found them out. Sustained pressure and a fine long pass from Shelford to Rob Myler saw Bateman sneak in at the corner for his second.

Davies missed that conversion, but was impressively accurate from wide on the left after the next two touchdowns. The first came when Bateman, who had just had a 50-yard kick and chase try disallowed after his crunching tackle knocked the ball out of Lee Hanlan's hands, was left unmarked at a play-the-ball to stroll over.

There was some extra satisfaction for Warrington in the final try, scored by their present captain, Bob Jackson, but set up by their former Great Britain skipper, Mike Gregory, coming safely through his first full match in almost two seasons.

Gregory looked rusty but exerted enough influence to suggest that he, like Davies, is going to be a bonus for Warrington this season.

Davies, perhaps self-critical, felt that his own contribution had been low key. 'I probably didn't do much in attack, because I'm still getting used to the pattern of play,' he said. 'If I help towards some tries, I'm happy, and if I can kick as many goals every match I'll be very happy.'

Warrington: Penny; Myler, Bateman (Mackey, 73), Davies, Williamson; Shelford, Mackey (Ellis, 57); Chambers (Phillips, 28), Thursfield, Jackson, Gregory, Sanderson, Cullen.

Wakefield Trinity: Spencer; Moseley, Mason, Goddard, Christie; Hanlan, Bagnall; Thompson (Slater, 34), Conway (Round, 74), Waddell (Raw, 61), Round (Flynn, 73), Flynn (Thompson, 57), Bell.

Referee: C Steele (Barrow).