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Widnes 28 Leeds 38
11:05pm Sunday 22nd June 2014 in Sport
AN understrength Vikings outfit gave it their all but were ultimately outgunned by a star-studded Leeds Rhinos side at the Seelect Security Stadium.
Widnes went into the game without a host of first-teamers including Kevin Brown, Danny Tickle, Danny Galea, Hep Cahill, Jon Clarke, Jack Owens and Cameron Phelps.
Joe Mellor made his long-awaited comeback after injury and it was an opportunity for the likes of Adam Lawton and Grant Gore to gain some valuable experience.
The first 40 minutes was a half of two halves!
Early in the piece it was all Leeds. The Vikings just couldn't get their hands on possession and when they did they couldn't hold it.
Consequently the Rhinos were constantly banging on the Widnes line.
Under the circumstances it was surprising the visitors only managed two scores.
Kallum Watkins got outside his opposite number to squeeze over in the corner after three minutes and ten minutes later Danny McGuire danced through under the posts to make it 10-0.
Half-way through the first half, and totally against the run of play, Chris Dean crashed over for Widnes from a Rhys Hanbury offload with Patrick Ah Van adding the extras from wide out.
Hanbury himself scored on the half hour after Paddy Flynn palmed a Danny Craven bomb into his path and Vikings fans were seventh heaven when, on the stroke of half-time, Ah Van rose above opposite number Tom Briscoe to collect another Craven kick and touch down in the corner.
It gave Widnes an unlikely 16-10 interval lead.
It would be interesting to speculate what Rhinos boss Brian McDermott said to his charges at half-time.
Whatever it was, they came out firing after the break.
Tries from Kevin Sinfield, Liam Sutcliffe and Briscoe recaptured the lead for the visitors and the game was pretty much up when McGuire scored his side's fourth unanswered score of the second half on 66 minutes to make it 32-16.
To their credit, Widnes never gave up and Gore sneaked under the posts from dummy-half to pull six points back.
A try from Leeds youngster Josh Walters confirmed their superiority but the Vikings at least had the last word.
Hall fumbled a loose pass and Mellor scooped up to race 80 metres, outpacing Ben Jones-Bishop en route to the line.
Ah Van's excellent conversion gave the final score an air of respectability at 38-28.
Widnes: Hanbury; Flynn, Dean, Marsh, Ah Van; Mellor, Craven; Kavanagh, White, Gerrard, Lawton, Allen, Leuluai. Subs: Isa, Gore, Johnson, Joseph.
Leeds: Jones-Bishop; Briscoe, Watkins, Moon, Hall; Sinfield, McGuire; Bailey, Ward, Singleton, Delaney, Ablett, Sutcliffe. Subs: Kirke, Jones-Buchanan, Aiton, Walters.
Referee: B Thaler.