Widnes find their salvation in Trinity

Hull 20 Widnes 18
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The Independent Online

Widnes lost the match but won the battle to preserve their Super League status as Castleford dropped out of the top flight for the first time in their 78-year history as a senior club.

Widnes lost the match but won the battle to preserve their Super League status as Castleford dropped out of the top flight for the first time in their 78-year history as a senior club.

Widnes lost a fluctuating contest against a Hull side with nothing to play for, but Castleford's simultaneous 32-28 defeat at home to Wakefield made all the nervous calculations redundant and the 600 travelling Vikings fans could finally breath a sigh of relief after an exhausting and schizophrenic evening watching the action on the pitch and the updates from Castleford on the big screen.

Widnes had nothing to show for their early pressure, except the welcome news that Wakefield were leading at The Jungle. Any optimismwas immediately diluted, however, when Hull took the lead. Stephen Myler had his kick charged down and Richard Whiting won the race for the line. Worse still was the news that Castleford were now winning.

Then things looked up rapidly. Wakefield regained the lead and Widnes went ahead for the first time courtesy of an inevitably controversial but justifiable decision by the video referee to award a penalty try, when Daniel Frame had the ball stripped from him in a two-man tackle as he crossed the try line.

It was almost as though events at the two grounds were co-ordinated, as shortly after Cas went ahead once more, Hull did the same, Graeme Horne launching a high kick which Paul Devlin lost and Richard Swain reclaimed to send Whiting over for his second try.

The balance swung Widnes's way before half-time, Matthew Whitaker taking Shane Millard's pass to squeeze in at the corner, and Jules O'Neill kicking the goal from the touchline to give them the half-time advantage. At the same time Wakefield were levelling the scores at Castleford.

Two quick Wakefield tries after the break lifted the Widnes fans' spirit, as did O'Neill's penalty. It was still nowhere near time to relax, though, with Richie Barnett and Peter Lupton going over for tries to restore Hull's lead, the only consolation being that Wakefield were keeping their noses in front 40 miles away.

O'Neill's pass to Sala Fa'alogo meant that the lead changed hands yet again, but then Colin Best edged Hull back in front with eight minutes to play.

That was where they were destined to stay. The result from The Jungle made it academic and the Widnes fans were finally free to celebrate their escape.

Hull: Briscoe; Best, Yeaman, Raynor, Barnett; Whiting, Lupton; Scruton, Swain, Dowes, Bailey, McNicholas, G Horne. Substitutes used: Fletcher, Carvell, Higgins, Last.

Widnes: Holmes; Devlin, Bird, Hughes, Murphy; O'Neill, Myler; Mills, Millard, McCurrie, Frame, Hay, Finnigan. Substitutes used: Whitaker, Hobson, Gallagher, Fa'alogo.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).

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