On this Day – 14.05
On this day …. 14 May
Fourteen years ago today, on 14th May 2006, Rovers went to the Halton Stadium to play old rivals Widnes Vikings in the fifth National League game of the season. Having assembled a strong squad of players, Rovers had just one main ambition that season – to reach Super League. Widnes were always likely to be one of their chief obstacles in achieving that goal, but at that point, the Robins had won all their fourteen league and cup games and were full of confidence.
That confidence showed right from the kick-off, as the Robins shell-shocked their hosts with tries by Ben Cockayne, Gareth Morton and Scott Murrell in the first 13 minutes, Morton’s three conversions giving them an 18-0 lead. Widnes did recover to score a couple of tries of their own, but a try from the little general, James Webster, converted by Morton, gave Rovers a 24-12 interval lead.
With Widnes rising to the challenge, the second half was more even, but Rovers never looked likely to surrender their lead. Tommy Gallagher crossed twice, Cockayne added a second, and the prolific Morton converted all three. In between these scores, the Vikings managed a couple of tries of their own, but Rovers ran out 42-28 winners in the end.
It was the first of four meetings between that sides that season, culminating in the never-to-be-forgotten National League Grand Final, and Rovers had struck a big psychological blow. Coach Justin Morgan was in no doubt of the importance of the win. ‘They were the best team we have played all year,’ he said. ’They asked a lot of questions of us,’ adding that he was sure that the Vikings would be there at the end of the season. Prophetic words indeed.
Rovers team that day was – Ben Cockayne; Leroy Rivett, Gareth Morton, Jon Goddard, Jon Steel; Scott Murrell, James Webster (capt); Makali Aizue, Ben Fisher, David Tangata-Toa, Iain Morrison, Jason Netherton, Tommy Gallagher. Bench: Sebastien Martins, Dwayne Barker, Francis Stephenson, Michael Smith.
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