A Sean Long inspired St Helens defeated determined Widnes to maintain their 100% league record, on an awful pitch at the Halton Stadium.It was the stand-off’s try and conversion that gave Saints a 6-0 half time lead, Long danced through the Widnes defence to touch down despite vain efforts from Deon Bird to keep him out. There was a hint of double movement in the try but the referee, Russell Smith, had no hesitation in giving the try. The reigning Super League champions were reduced to 12 men as ???????? was sin binned for holding down former Hull centre Deon Bird after his 50 yard break. Bird was probably the best Vikings player on show, playing in an unusual loose forward role with Daniel Frame at stand-off and Dean Lawford at scrum-half in place of Widnes’ injured captain Ryan Sheridan. Adam Hughes missed two relatively easy penalties before Saints’ try which disappointed the home crowd of 7,518.
In the second half Widnes gave away a try after some great pressure at the start. On the sixth tackle Jason Demetriou dropped the ball and Dean Lawford, who picked it up, was tackled while attempting a kick leaving the ball free. Saints winger Daren Albert, arguably the fastest player in Super League, pounced and ran 80 metres to score a fabulous try which wrapped up the game for Saints. A try from Ade Gardener put Saints out of reach at 16-0, Sean Long adding the extras. Widnes pulled a try back through Adam Hughes, who broke free to grab his 3rd try of the season. Unfortunately, Dean Lawford missed the conversion. Saints flattered themselves with a last minute, disputed try from Gardener which the video referee gave, despite a hint that he was out of touch. Widnes battled well but must improve in time for their next game against Bradford Bulls in the Challenge Cup Quarter Finals. Final Score in front of an impressive crowd at the Halton Stadium was Widnes Vikings 4, St Helens 22.
Widnes: Stuart Spruce, Paul Devlin, Dan Potter, Adam Hughes, Jason Demetriou, Daniel Frame, Dean Lawford, Robert Relf, Shane Millard, Julian O’Neill, Andy Hay, Steve McCurrie, Deon Bird. Subs: Paul Atcheson, Phil Cantillon, Anthony Farrell, David Mills.
St Helens: Darren Albert, Anthony Stewart, Darren Smith, Paul Newlove, Ade Gardner, Paul Sculthorpe, Sean Long, Darren Britt, Chris Joynt, Barry Ward, Tim Jonkers, John Stankevitch, Jason Hooper. Subs: Mark Edmondson, Micky Higham, Stuart Jones, John Kirkpatrick.
Referee: Russell Smith