Hull KR kept their slim hopes of making the top eight alive with a 26-24 victory over rock-bottom Widnes at the Select Security Stadium.
Veteran half-back Danny McGuire pulled the strings throughout the eighty minutes, defying his age with some brilliant attacking play.
The visitors led at the break courtesy of James Donaldson’s try and Danny Tickle extended KR’s lead before Olly Ashall and Danny Craven crossed to miraculously draw Widnes level.
Brilliant work from the Vikings, which included some impressive handling, put all the pressure on Rovers in the second forty, which makes you wonder how they have had such an appalling season to date.
In a fast, ferocious match, any mistake proved to be costly, and despite youngster Owen Buckley notching a brace to top off a spirited second-half fightback, scores from Adam Quinlan and Liam Salter ensured that the Robins recorded their third consecutive Super League victory.
Despite holding on when Buckley crossed for his second try of the game just two minutes from the final hooter, KR will be concerned that a side who could well record the lowest Super League points haul ever managed to come within one score of victory. If the East Yorkshire side are going to squeeze into the top eight, they’ll need to tighten up defensively.
The history books are getting rewritten on a weekly basis at the Halton Stadium as Widnes slipped to a 14th consecutive Super League defeat, while Rovers made it seven points from eight thanks to evergreen Danny McGuire’s experience, game management and organisation that got Rovers over the line.
Defeat for the Vikings means Francis Cummins is still looking for his first win since taking over until the end of the season in May.
Widnes, who have shockingly won just three games all season, face a trip to Leeds Rhinos on Friday who are in poor form themselves, while the Robins host Warrington on the same night in which promises to be a mouthwatering encounter.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Widnes are seemingly doomed
They showed promising signs in the second half, but Widnes left themselves far too much to do following a slow start and, in all honesty, you never felt as though they’d pull the comeback off.
It’s already a matter of preparing for the qualifiers and, in all probability, the 560 minutes of action which could determine whether or not they are a Super League club next season.
McGuire’s still got it
Many thought Danny McGuire’s departure from Leeds last season spelled the beginning of the end for the half-back, but looking at this performance it’s anything but. He pulled the strings for Rovers from start to finish and looked like a man half his age. What a brilliant signing he has been for KR.
Man Of The Match- Danny McGuire (Hull KR)
The veteran half-back conducted proceedings from the word go in this thrilling encounter. Spraying the ball from left to right, making important tackles at crucial moments and setting up match winnings attacks, McGuire did it all in this one. KR are still in with a shout of making the Super 8’s and the ex-Rhinos man will be instrumental in them getting there, if they do.
Tries: Ashall, Craven, Buckley (2)
Goals: Inu (4)
Drop Goals: n/a
TEAM B + SCORE
Tries: Donaldson, Tickle, Quinlan, Salter
Goals: Atkin, Tickle (4)
Drop Goals: n/a
Widnes Vikings: Ashall, Marsh, Runciman, Inu, Buckley, Mellor, Craven, J. Chapelhow, Heremaia, Dudson, Whitley, Houston, Leuluai.
Replacements: Olbison, D. Walker, T. Chapelhow, Wellington.
Hull Kingston Rovers: Quinlan, Carney, Blair, Salter, Oakes, McGuire, Atkin, Scruton, Lee, Mulhern, Tickle, Greenwood, Clarkson.
Replacements: Lunt, Masoe, Kavanagh, Donaldson.
Referee: T. Grant.