Warrington Wolves 22 Salford Red Devils 8 (Half-time 12-0)
The local derby between Warrington Wolves and Salford Red Devils in the Super League yesterday, proved to be a far easier victory for the home side than some had predicted, with the Wolves comfortably taking the points. They outscored the visitors by four tries to two, as a commanding 12-0 half-time lead, became a convincing 22-8 victory by the end. Salford did make more of a match of it in the second period, with ex-Leeds Rhinos' winger Ben Jones-Bishop going over for a brace of tries for them on his debut for the club.
It was an even contest for much of the first period, before the Wolves opened the scoring on 27 minutes through a Richie Myler try, with Stefan Ratchford providing the assist. Their advantage was stretched soon afterwards, as Mickey Higham bagged a close-range score.
Both tries were coolly converted by kicker Ratchford, to ensure the home side went in at the break already looking like the probably winners. Salford's cause was not aided when they had Adam Walne sin-binned leading up to the break.
After the interval with the numbers then equal again, it was the Wolves' turn to be reduced to twelve men, when Ben Westwood caught Walne with a high tackle, which the referee deemed worthy of a yellow card. Despite the lack of numbers, Ryan Atkins was able to add to the home side's lead, as he pounced on a grubber kick delivered expertly by Gareth O'Brien. Ratchford's third conversion made the score 18-0.
Jones-Bishop finally gave the away fans some room for optimism, as he crossed in the corner with twenty minutes still to play, but the conversion was missed. Their hope was extinguished completely when Joel Monaghan's pass found Rhys Evans to score in the corner ten minutes from the end, with Ratchford spoiling his perfect record of conversions, by missing the extra points from a tight angle.
Jones-Bishop's second try near the end proved to be scant consolation for the away side, but at least gave them some grounds for optimism going forward in the season, once all of their new recruits are fully bedded into the side.
The scores would have been closer but for Salford's failure to convert either of their tries.
Ratchford's impact on the game made him the clear man of the match, not just for his assist and kicking prowess, but also for his versatility in switching to full-back, from where he made two crucial try-saving tackles.
Warrington were able to provide a debut for last season's Man of Steel winner, Daryl Clark, who had enjoyed a tremendous season and career with Castleford Tigers previously. #Rugby