St Helens 44
Tries: Flanagan, Makinson 3, Masoe 2, Turner, Manu
Goals: Percival 6/8
Widnes Vikings 22
Tries: Phelps 2, Marsh, Hanbury
Goals: Tickle 3/4
Tommy Makinson scored a hat-trick as St Helens tightened their grip on top spot with a 44-22 victory over Widnes Vikings who are struggling to keep a place in the top eight.
Saints led 32-0 at one point as their title challenging side was too strong for the Vikings who did mount a remarkable comeback when they scored three tries in three sets however, they couldn’t keep up the fightback as they tired late on.
The home side flew out of the bocks and blew away their opponents on a weekend which saw other title hopefuls Wigan, Warrington and Castleford all drop points.
This defeat means that Widnes’ clash with Hull KR at the Select Security Stadium next Sunday is a must win for Dennis Betts’ men if they are to stay inside the top eight.
Saints started well and the Vikings couldn’t cope with the early pressure as Mark Flanagan crossed for the first try when James Roby jumped from dummy half to find Luke Walsh who’s flat pass put Flanagan in a hole.
The next try was a Tommy Makinson special as Mark Flanagan turned provider with a grubber kick towards the corner where Makinson collected the kick and produced a diving finish despite Hanbury’s best efforts to stop him.
Mose Masoe charged over for a double before half-time to send Saints in to the break with a 22-0 lead. The first was from close range as he stormed onto a Roby drop off before he then brushed aside Widnes’ feeble defensive attempts to score from 30 metres out.
It got worse for Widnes when the second half started as Makinson grabbed his second thanks to a brilliant offload out wide from his centre Jordan Turner which allowed the winger to race past Hanbury to score.
The two then combined for another try as Makinson broke down the wing but this time it was Turner who would score as Makinson’s pass inside found him in support.
As choruses of ‘Twist and Shout’ rang out from the away end the travelling fans were rewarded for their patience as Cameron Phelps finally got Widnes on the scoreboard when a sweeping move was finished by him in the corner.
From the resulting kick off Widnes threw the ball wide early in the count and deep in their own half and went back to back when Hanbury broke the Saints line. He found the supporting Dave Allen who gave the ball to Phelps for him to race in for a second try.
Widnes fans couldn’t believe what they were seeing when their side crossed for a third try from the very next set. Danny Tickle got his hands on the ball after the first tackle and his flat ball was met by a flying Stefan Marsh who was never going to be stopped once he pinned his ears back.
Tommy Makinson completed his hat-trick in style with what has become his trademark finish this season when he dove over out wide as the ball eventually found its way to the prolific Saints winger.
Widnes became their own worst enemies as the comeback was put to bed when a loose carry inside their own ten fell to Willie Manu for an easy score.
There was still time for a consolation try for the Vikings though as Leuluai broke and passed inside to Hanbury who was on hand to finish the move and the scoring as they slumped to a 44-22 defeat.