Widnes dealt injury blow to key man Danny Craven

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Danny Craven Widnes Vikings SWpix Credit: Alamy
Danny Craven Widnes Vikings SWpix Credit: Alamy

Widnes suffered an injury blow to influential half-back Danny Craven in the opening minutes of their 11-4 defeat at Batley on Monday night.

The 31-year-old was forced from the field in the early stages of the game with a calf injury, forcing a re-shuffle in the backline, with Matty Fozard joining Jack Owens in the halves and Jordan Johnstone playing a full 80 minutes at hooker.

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“It looks like he’s torn his calf muscle, we’ll have to determine the grade of the tear,” Widnes coach John Kear said of Danny Craven. “And that was done with the first kick that he put in of the game, on his standing leg.

“Obviously it affected us and how we played. But you know, I thought Foz did a really good job moving in there and Jordan Johnstone moved from 13 to nine and played the full 80.

“They’ve certainly put the shift in and they’ve worked really hard, but we’ve just come up short.

“One try apiece, chances were at a premium. I think you may well say we had more chances, but we didn’t nail them.”

John Kear reflects on Widnes’ defeat at Batley

Batley were 8-0 up at half-time thanks to a try from Lucas Walshaw and two goals from Luke Hooley.

Hooley, on loan from Leeds, extended Batley’s lead on the hour with a penalty goal. Zach Eckersley, on loan at Widnes from Wigan, threatened a late Vikings comeback in the final 10 minutes.

But the game was sealed two minutes from time when half-back Josh Woods added a drop goal. Craig Lingard’s Bulldogs claimed an 11-4 victory at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.

Kear told the Vikings website: “The conditions didn’t help us and how we wanted to play. It rained all day and it made it really slippery and greasy.

“Batley’s error count was far less than ours, and that may well be where the game was won or lost.

“We’ve lost [the ball] on or near the line, and you’ve got to nail those chances if you’re going to win tight games against quality opposition.

“We let the second half pass us by and didn’t ask enough questions. 

“We’ve got to credit Batley as well. I thought they played really well and their completion rate was phenomenally high in conditions like this.”

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