Widnes Vikings 38 Sheffield Eagles 24
A BUMPER crowd of more than 4,000 people soaked up the sun and saw Widnes extend their unbeaten Co-operative Championship run to five matches with a convincing victory against the Sheffield at the Stobart Stadium on Sunday.
The Vikings now move up to fifth place in the league table, just a point behind Sunday’s opponents with only eight league games left to play this season and head coach Denis Betts is delighted with the progress his side is making.
Betts said: “We were really clinical and we did a lot of good stuff at key points in the game.
“I thought we were physical. They were a big side and we stuck at the job. I was very pleased with the way we went about it.
“They were a tough side so we had to stay focused, we had to concentrate. It was a good one because it pushes us above Barrow with a game in hand.
“They’re above us and we have already beaten them once so it’s a six-point turnaround on the year. Taking points from sides above you in the table is key to what we get now and how we move forward.”
Danny Hulme got the ball rolling for Widnes in the ninth minute.
On his return from a troublesome hamstring injury, the 20-year-old full-back latched on to Chaz I’Anson’s delayed pass to score a converted try to the right of the posts.
Widnes settled into their rhythm quickly, despite their lack of recent fixtures, and maintained a good pace to the game in temperatures of up to 30°C.
Further first-half tries from Macgraff Leuluai, Richard Varkulis and Kevin Penny opened up a well-deserved 22-0 lead.
But a freak try on the stroke of half-time for Sheffield’s Jamie Cording gave the visitors hope of a comeback.
Straight from the restart after Penny’s touchdown, the ball bounced back off the post and Cording was quickest to react to score under the sticks.
Hulme thought he had scored his second of the match in the first minute of the second half but it was ruled out for obstruction.
And less than a minute later, Sheffield were back in the match when Kyle Wood scampered under the sticks from dummy-half.
But man-of-the-match Kurt Haggerty then restored the Vikings 16-point cushion, after latching on to Joe Mellor’s well-timed pass.
And when Penny raced length of the field to score under the posts after cutting out a pass on his own 10-metre line, the contest was all but over.
Menzie Yere struck back for the visitors with 16 minutes left to play, after a quick penalty had caught the generally impressive Widnes defence napping.
And Hulme was forced into making a late try-saving tackle before Dave Allen crossed the line for his 100th point in a Vikings shirt.
Simon Brown scored a consolation try for Sheffield in the final minute but Widnes held on to take all three points.