Leigh Centurions 24 Widnes Vikings 37

STAND-OFF Danny Craven crossed for a hat-trick as Widnes registered their first win of the Super League season with a 37-24 triumph at Leigh.

It was a truly heroic effort by the injury-hit Vikings who went into the game without a number of first team players and lost several more over the course of the 80 minutes.

A vociferous Vikings following celebrated in some style as the final hooter sounded following an exhilerating see-saw game.

Widnes opened the scoring on just three minutes when Tom Gilmore's short range grubber-kick was pounced on by centre Chris Bridge to make it 4-0.

The Vikings early ball control was better than their opponents and they capitalised when Craven dummied through from 15 metres and Gilmore added the extras.

A Gilmore penalty increased the Widnes lead to 12-0 on 20 minutes but it seemed to galvanise the home side.

Leigh stormed back with converted tries from ex-Viking Danny Tickle and rangy centre Ben Crooks to level things up.

It looked like the teams would go in all square at the interval but a break from Vikings dummy-half Jordan Johnstone was backed up by Craven who stormed in from 30 metres with Gilmore again adding the extras.

On the restart, Gilmore bamboozled the Leigh defence on last tackle and sent substitute Sam Brooks over unimpeded and Gilmore quickly followed up with a drop-goal to make it 25-12.

Leigh stormed back roared on by the home crowd and pulled six points back through a Sam Hopkins try and got themselves within one point when Crooks' second touchdown made it 25-24 on 61 minutes.

With no substitutes left to put on, the Vikings looked jaded but a magical show-and-go try from Craven for his hat-trick, converted by Gilmore, re-established a seven point cushion.

Leigh's attempts to get back in the game became increasingly desperate and Widnes winger Charly Runciman nailed the coffin lid down with a late converted try.

Leigh: Hampshire; Higson, Brown, Crooks, Dawson; Ridyard, Reynolds; Acton, Higham, Weston, Vea, Tickle, Hock. Subs: Hood, Hansen, Hopkins, Green.

Widnes: Hanbury; Armstrong, Bridge, Runciman, Marsh; Craven, Gilmore; J Chapelhow, Johnstone, Burke, Olbison, Whitley, Houston. Subs: D Walker, Leuluai, Manuokafoa, Brooks.

Half-Time: 12-18.

Referee: R Hicks.

Attendance: 6,196.