A strong Widnes Vikings side picked up a 62-0 victory over Betfred League 1 side Whitehaven RLFC at the Select Security Stadium on Friday evening.
It was a comfortable win for Denis Betts’ men, as they added to their Festive Derby triumph over Warrington Wolves to make it two pre-season wins in a row.
Despite not trouble the score board, the visitors showed some glimpses of class with a new look side, as they came close on a number of occasions including being held up over the line.
It was a valuable run-out for a number of Widnes’ first teamers as they got some minutes under their belt ahead of the new season, while Whitehaven will take a lot of positives back to Cumbria despite the score line.
Before kick-off the supporters observed an impeccable minute’s silence in memory of Kato Ottio, with fans raising over £4,000 for the Papua New Guinea international’s family through bucket collections.
The Vikings’ first try of the night came after just five minutes, as Joe Mellor dummied through the defensive line before sending Rhys Hanbury over in support. Tom Gilmore made no mistake with the boot, making it 6-0.
The resulting kick-off hit the post and caused some confusion to the hosts, although they recovered to add a second score as Krisnan Inu’s last tackle grubber was misjudged by Jordan Burns which handed Aaron Heremaia a simple converted score.
Sam Wilde was then next on the scoresheet, as he scooped up a spilled Gilmore bomb to cross the whitewash untouched on 12 minutes, before Stefan Marsh muscled his way over in the corner six minutes later. Gilmore added one goal to make it 22-0 and put the home side ahead of the clock.
It took a further 12 minutes for Widnes to score another, as Patrick Ah Van was too strong from close range just minutes after he had a try chalked off for a forward pass.
Marsh strolled over in the opposite corner to register his second score of the evening, with Gilmore converting both efforts to make it 34-0 at the break.
It took the home side 10 minutes to add to their lead, as Mellor danced through the defence again, this time rounding the fullback to touch down, with Gilmore’s conversion bringing up 40 for the Vikings.
Haven withstood some pressure over the next 10 minutes, as the hosts attacked their left edge with a number of towering bombs.
However, it was on the opposite wing that Widnes had success on 63 minutes, with a blind side play sending youngster Owen Buckley over for his second try in as many games. Marsh took over kicking duties to make it 46-0.
Marsh completed his hat-trick with another walk-in on the right edge with 13 minutes left on the clock, before MacGraff LeuLuai came up with the moment of the night.
The backrower had the try line gaping, however he lost his footing and stumbled to within a metre of the whitewash where he coughed up possession to the jeers of the supporters.
Tom Olbison made no mistake minutes later though, as he raced in for a try which was converted by Brad Walker, as he became the third Vikings player to take up kicking duties.
The last try of the night came to Danny Walker, as two ‘Haven players collided when attempting to catch a high kick, leading to the hooker hacking the loose ball into the in-goal and pouncing. His namesake Brad converted from in front, to round-off a 62-0 victory.
Widnes Vikings: 1. Rhys Hanbury, 5. Patrick Ah Van, 3. Krisnan Inu, 4. Charly Runciman, 2. Stefan Marsh, 6. Joe Mellor, 7. Tom Gilmore, 19. Greg Burke, 33. Aaron Heremaia, 13. Hep Cahill, 14. Chris Dean, 17. Sam Wilde, 11. Chris Houston. Interchanges: 9. Lloyd White, 25. Jay Chapelhow, 26. Ted Chapelhow, 15. Danny Craven, 23. Danny Walker, 28. Brad Walker, 16. Tom Olbison, 12. Matt Whitely, 21. Jordan Johnstone, 24. , Ed Chamberlain, 22. Owen Buckley, 20. MacGraff Leuluai.
Tries: Hanbury (5), Heremaia (7), Wilde (12), Marsh (18, 33, 67), Ah Van (30), Mellor (50), Buckley (63), Olbison (74), D. Walker (77)
Goals: Gilmore 6/7, Marsh 1/2, B. Walker 2/2
Whitehaven RLFC: 1. Jordan Burns, 15. Danny Green, 20. Lewis Reece, 5. David Thompson, 24. Phillip Lister, 17. Brad Billsborough, 7. Callum Phillips, 21. Jack Cottingham, 9. James Tilley, 8. Marc Shackley, 13. Karl Olstrom, 18. Ellis Gillam, 10. Carl Forster. Interchanges: 14. Dan Abram, 16. Kris Coward, 19. Lewis Brown. Not used: 11. Connor Holliday.
Referee: C Smith