Widnes Vikings produced a dominant display to see off Swinton Lions on Sunday evening and record their first league victory of the season, running in eight tries in the process.
Resilient defence set the platform for the Vikings to run up a score, as they were forced to defend their line for prolonged periods in the first quarter.
After weathering the storm, the home side earned the right to play and produced some glimpses of free-flowing attack which opened up their opponents and helped rack up a big score.
It was a stark contrast to the previous two weeks, with head coach Simon Finnigan hoping they can build on this performance heading into next week’s clash with Featherstone Rovers.
The opening ten minutes saw the Vikings forced to defend their line, with Swinton enjoying all the territory through the opening exchanges. Despite back-to-back sets on the Widnes line, the away side couldn’t find a way through as the hosts’ defence stood tall.
With 20 minutes on the clock both defences were still standing firm, however an error from Jayden Hatton gave the Lions a great chance to attack from 20 metres out. Deane Meadows coughed up the ball with the try line begging though, and the Vikings were let off the hook.
Jack Owens looked to be over the line for the opening score two minutes later, but the referee called double movement as he was carried over the line in the tackle.
It took 27 minutes for the first points to be posted, and it was Widnes who broke the deadlock after forcing a repeat set, however they only needed one play after Brad O’Neill’s cut-out ball sent Deon Cross over in the corner untouched. Ste Tyrer was on target with the touchline conversion to make it 6-0.
The lead was doubled when Kenny Baker rose highest to Matty Smith’s bomb, plucking the kick out the air and reaching out to score another six-pointer.
With four minutes of the half left to play, a Geronimo Doyle knock-on from Owens’ bomb gave the home side a great chance to attack and with the away defence tiring Brad O’Neill darted over from dummy half through a gaping hole.
Tyrer made it three out of three from the tee to send the Vikings into the break with an 18-0 lead.
It took the home side five minutes to extend their lead after the restart, as Owens tapped a pass on to Tyrer who had the simple task of scoring with no defenders in his path. The centre was off target from the tee this time.
Soon after the Vikings were in again, as some great set-up work by the Widnes back line gave them the field position to mount another attack which ended with Ellis Robson pouncing on Smith’s grubber. Tyrer’s conversion made it 28-0.
Swinton broke their deadlock on 53 minutes when three sets on their opponents’ line finally broke their resolve, with Nico Rizzelli finding enough space to cross in the corner, with Jack Hansen missing the conversion
Momentum shifted the way of the Lions until the hour mark, when a penalty for a ball steal marched Widnes up the field where Shane Grady charged over the line from close range.
Adam Lawton got in on the act with 15 minutes left to play, as he brushed off an attempted tackle to stride over the line as the home side hit the 40-point mark.
With 10 minutes left to play Cross had his second of the contest, with Edge sending him over on the right edge moments after Doyle dropped Smith’s spiralling bomb.
There was still time for a consolation effort for the Lions, as Mike Butt grounded Hansen’s grubber, however the two points were already secured for the home side as they broke their 2021 duck.
Widnes Vikings: Jack Owens, Jayden Hatton, Ste Tyrer, Joe Edge, Deon Cross, Joe Lyons, Matty Smith, Owen Farnworth, Brad O’Neill, Kenny Baker, Shane Grady, Ellis Robson, Paul Clough.
Interchanges: Adam Lawton, Calum O’Neill, Lewis Else, Will Tilleke.
Tries: Cross 2, Baker, B. O’Neill, Tyrer, Robson, Grady, Lawton. Goals: Tyrer 7/8
Swinton Lions: Geronimo Doyle, Mike Butt, Mitch Cox, Luis Roberts, Nico Rizzelli, Nick Gregson, Jack Hansen, Louis Brogan, Paul Nash, Sam Luckley, Rhodri Lloyd, Deane Meadows, Will Hope.
Interchanges: Billy Brickhill, Sam Brooks, Tom Spencer, Cobi Green.
Tries: Rizzelli, Butt. Goals: Hansen 1/2