Widnes Vikings 58 Featherstone Rovers 10

CHRIS Bridge and Rhys Hanbury crossed for a hat-trick of tries apiece as Widnes thrashed Featherstone Rovers 58-10 at Halton Stadium.

It was a thoroughly professional performance by Vikings, who crossed for 11 tries in total with Charly Runciman and Stefan Marsh also distinguihing themselves with a brace of touchdowns each.

Widnes's Championship opponents were certainly game but were ultimately outclassed by Denis Betts' men.

Betts brought hooker Danny Walker and prop Alex Gerrard into his game-day team with Jordan Johnstone and Jay Chapelhow dropping out from the previous week's 36-12 win at Halifax.

Widnes started like a side meaning business and were on the scoreboard after just three minutes.

Smart passing to the left saw fullback Rhys Hanbury make the extra man and dummy his way over.

Featherstone's first attack was repelled by the Vikings and they quickly increased their lead when a Joe Mellor cross-kick was fumbled by the visitors and Hanbury again popped up to cross and improve the angle to make it a comfortable conversion for Lloyd White.

Another sweeping right to left passing move again bamboozled the Rovers defence and centre Charly Runciman forced his way over on 13 minutes with White's fine goal making it 16-0.

And Runciman was in again four minutes later from a similar movement with White once more turning four into six to make it 22-0.

Featherstone had rarely threatened the Widnes line in the first quarter of the match but they finally came to life on 23 minutes when Misi Taulapapa finished off in the corner after an Anthony Thackeray kick had caused some confusion.

Just when it looked like Rovers might threaten again, an Ian Hardman pass was picked off by Widnes centre Chris Bridge who raced 50 metres to the posts for a six-pointer.

On 37 minutes, Bridge became the third Vikings player to score a first half brace as he ran a great line onto a lovely Mellor short ball giving his team a 34-4 half-time lead.

Credit to John Duffy's team, they started the second half like they had a point to prove and Anthony Thackeray sent second rower James Lockwood striding over to pull six points back.

However, on their next possession, another loose pass saw the Vikings score their second interception try with winger Stefan Marsh coasting in from 60 metres to make it 40-10 on 46 minutes.

The introduction of Walker gave Rovers another problem to deal with and the youngster's pin-point grubber kick allowed Bridge to cross for his hat-trick try.

The trick was repeated on 71 minutes but this time Marsh handed on to Hanbury who completed a treble of his own as the Vikings hit the half century at 52-10.

A last minute converted try by Mellor completed a satisfactory afternoon for Widnes.

Widnes: Hanbury; Marsh, Bridge, Runciman, Thompson; Mellor, Craven; Buchanan, White, Dudson, Houston, Whitley, Cahill. Subs: D Walker, Gerrard, Burke, Olbison.

Featherstone: Hardman; Briscoe, Hardcastle, Taulapapa, Turner; Briggs, Thackeray; Griffin, Wildie, Moore, Davies, Lockwood, Baldwinson. Subs: Carlile, Brooks, Ormondroyd, Tagg.

Half-Time: 34-4.

Referee: G Hewer.

Attendance: 4,373.