Rugby League: Widnes waltz in again

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Widnes. . . .26

St Helens. . .8

ST HELENS, knocked out of the Challenge Cup at the weekend, lost vital ground in the league by going down to a Widnes side determined to extend a six-match winning habit.

Taking their cue perhaps from Wigan's early blitz on St Helens on Saturday, Widnes roared into the attack from the outset and with immediate results. Only two minutes had gone when Emosi Koloto almost reached the line and Paul Moriarty drove over from dummy-half.

With Bobby Goulding working productively behind a dominant pack, it was a question of when and how more points would come. They arrived in the 13th minute, Stuart Spruce racing away from Richie Eyres's pass to be stopped by a tackle from David Lyon. Andy Currier, though, picked up and scored a fine try from 40 yards out.

With two goals and a penalty from Jonathan Davies, Widnes were fully in control and the Saints' frustration increased when Sonny Nickle was awarded a try only for the referee, Ian Ollerton, to change his mind and rule that Nickle had been held up.

If that looked dubious, so did the Saints' decision to opt for two easy points from an offside penalty rather than maintaining the pressure with a tap. They were soon vindicated, however, with a try from Tea Ropati after Shane Cooper had stretched the Widnes defence with a long pass.

Saints began the second half as energetically as Widnes had the first, but they fell further behind when the substitute, Christian Tyrer, used his first touch of the ball to run from the base of the scrum and open up the defence for Davies and Darren Wright, the try-scorer.

Matters deteriorated further for Saints when John Devereux was obstructed chasing his own kick. Lyon was dispatched to the sin-bin and Davies added a simple two points. Five minutes from the end, Currier's pass let the other Widnes substitute, David Marsh, put the match beyond doubt.

Widnes: Spruce; Devereux, Currier, Wright, Myers; Davies, Goulding; Howard, Holliday (Tyrer, 48), Faimalo, Moriarty, Koloto (Marsh, 70), Eyres. .

St Helens: Lyon; Hunte, Connolly, Loughlin, Quirk; Ropati, Cooper; Neill (Harrison, 50), Dwyer, Mann, Harrison (Griffiths, 34), Nickle (O'Donnell, 66). Veivers (Neill, 61).

Referee: I Ollerton (Wigan).

Wigan moved their league challenge up a gear when they crushed Hull 42-0 last night. Frano Botica led the way with two of the seven tries and seven goals, while Shaun Edwards made his 200th touchdown for the club.

Great Britain proved far too strong for France as they ran in nine tries in the under-21 international at Rochdale last night. Wigan's Paul Atcheson and Barrie- Jon Mather each scored twice.