Widnes 14 Halifax 0: Widnes given early scare by part-timers

Widnes led only 4-0 until the 79th minute

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Relieved Widnes coach Denis Betts admits there was “plenty of anxiety” after part-timers Halifax almost stunned them in their Super 8 qualifiers opener.

The fixture pitted the lowest and highest-ranked teams of the middle 8s together given that the visitors came ninth in Super League and their West Yorkshire opponents finished fourth in the Championship.

But there was no such obvious chasm as Widnes led only 4-0 until the 79th minute as gutsy Halifax, on the back of a nine-match winning run, threatened a big shock before eventually losing 14-0.

“We made hard work for ourselves,” Betts admitted. “You have got to give a lot of credit to Halifax. They’ve not won nine games on the trot for nothing and without some enthusiasm and the ability to work for each other. They have some decent ex-Super League players in that team who want to try push on again.

“And there was plenty of anxiety at four-nil with 10 minutes to go. Yet we still managed to defend our line really well.”

Rangi Chase was Salford’s late hero with a scorching long-range try as Salford fought back to claim a 34-26 middle 8s victory over Wakefield at AJ Bell Stadium. The Wildcats had led 26-22 until Chase raced 90 metres to score with 10 minutes left. Josh Griffin converted and then added the extras to  man-of-the-match Cory Paterson’s second and Salford’s sixth try.

Defeat was tough on Wakefield, who had fought back from 16-6 down at the interval, with the lead changing hands five times in a topsy-turvy second half after Salford had romped 16-0 ahead just before the break.

Lee Gaskell scored a hat-trick as Bradford kicked off their Super 8 qualifiers campaign with an impressive 42-10  victory over Sheffield Eagles at Odsal.