Widnes Vikings ended a two-game losing run and climbed the Betfred Championship table, as they defeated Swinton Lions 32-10 at Heywood Road.
Ted Chapelhow crossed for a brace, with his second putting the result beyond doubt, helping the Vikings move above their opponents into 11th place.
Kieron Purtill made three changes to last week’s side, with Chris Dean welcomed back to the starting line-up along with Jayden Hatton, who featured on the wing. Dan Norman also came into the squad, making his first appearance of the season from the bench.
Ted Chapelhow opened the scoring four minutes in, as he collected a pass from Jack Owens before stepping past a defender to touch down. Owens added the extras to make it 6-0.
The Vikings then enjoyed a period of pressure on the Swinton line, which came from Harry Smith’s last tackle kick finding touch on the full, giving Widnes a fresh set 40 metres from the try line.
Joe Lyons then forced a goal-line drop out with his kick into the in-goal before Widnes had a scrum on the Lions’ 10 metre line, coming from Harry Aaronson’s knock on as he attempted to intercept a pass.
That pressure finally told, as Danny Craven’s kick towards the sticks was scooped up by the on-rushing Lyons, who scored under the crossbar. Owens converted from in front, doubling the visitor’s advantage after 11 minutes.
Back-to-back penalties and a Swinton knock on from a Lyons kick gave the Vikings another chance to attack their opponent’s line, only for Jay Chapelhow to lose control of possession at the play the ball.
Up the other end of the field, Jayden Hatton dropped the ball deep inside his own half and the Lions capitalised, as Mike Butt found enough space to dive over in the corner. The conversion attempt from Smith was unsuccessful, as Widnes led by eight points.
Swinton went close immediately after, as Butt knocked back a cross field kick only for Jack Hansen to lose control of the ball as he reached out for the try line.
The Vikings responded with a try, as Jay Chapelhow went agonisingly close to joining his brother on the scoresheet, before Craven’s short ball at the line sent Sam Wilde over on the next play. Owens kept his 100% record with the boot to make it 18-4.
With three minutes of the half remaining, Hatton thought he had scored his first try for the club as he crossed out wide, only for Jordan Johnstone’s cut-out ball to drift forward.
The half ended with some confusion, as Hatton defused a bomb with what looked like the final play of the first 40, however a penalty was awarded after the hooter to the home side. Smith chose to take a shot at goal, but his attempt was wide meaning the Vikings headed for the sheds with a 14-point lead.
Swinton started the second half on the front foot, as they advanced into the Vikings half when Owens couldn’t keep hold of a towering bomb which he lost sight of in the sun.
The Lions tried to find a way over on their right edge from the resulting set, but Owens made amends by pouncing on Aaronson’s wild offload as he looked to avoid touch.
Moments later a penalty gave them another chance to attack, as Gavin Bennion was tackled without the ball, only for Rhodri Lloyd to be penalised for obstruction early in the count.
Swinton then turned pressure into points, as Smith broke through the middle and despite the best efforts of the retreating Craven, Matty Ashton crossed in support on 51 minutes. Smith added his first conversion of the contest to edge the Lions to within eight points.
Lloyd Roby got Widnes on the front foot as he intercepted a pass from Smith, racing into the Swinton half before Lyons forced a goal-line drop-out as he chased down his own kick. The Lions then took too long to take the drop-out, handing the Vikings a penalty which was turned into two points when Owens elected to go for goal.
Hatton went close for the Vikings as Owens drew the winger and sent the Vikings youngster racing down the right edge, however he was hauled down short of the try line. Lyons then forced another goal-line drop-out when he chased down his own kick, although Widnes couldn’t make the most of their repeat set.
It took half an hour of the second half for the away side to finally cross the try line, as Craven dummied past a defender before reaching out to find the try line. Owens improved the effort, making it 26-10.
With five minutes of the game remaining, Ted Chapelhow found his way over from close range to put the result beyond doubt, as he charged onto a short ball from dummy half. The hosts were forced to play out the remainder of the game with 12 men, as Butt was sin binned in the aftermath.
From the restart, Swinton forced a goal-line drop-out before Hatton seemed to be trapped from a last tackle kick, only for the youngster to find a way out of the in-goal and to the 20 metre line, where he won a penalty.
Purtill’s men saw the game out to get back to winning ways, climbing out of the bottom two and into 11th place in the Betfred Championship.