JACK Owens crossed for a hat-trick as Widnes produced a dominant second half display to down Rochdale Hornets 40-12 at Halton Stadium.

Widnes boss Kieron Purtill rang the changes following his side’s horror show at Bradford seven days earlier.

Anthony Gelling was missing through injury while Keenan Brand, Joe Edge, Joe Lyons and Josh Ganson missed out also. Olly Ashall-Bott came in on one wing after a long injury lay-off and there was a return for Patrick Ah Van on the other flank following his stint in France.

Tom Gilmore was brought in to partner Danny Craven in the halves, Jay Chapelhow returned at prop and Hep Cahill was back at loose forward.

The early stages suggested it might be an afternoon of fun in the sun for the Vikings.

Ah Van’s first touch of the ball was an impressive one as he raced up the left touchline from an Owens pass and found centre Lloyd Roby in support to score the first try of the game.

On seven minutes, Ah Van crossed for a try of his own from Danny Craven’s drop-off from a familiar looking move which made it 8-0.

However, any notion that Widnes were set for a runaway win were dashed as Rochdale began to find their feet.

The visitors got the try their enterprise deserved when centre Jordan Case’s incisive break saw him field winger Kevin Brown who went in for a six-pointer.

The Vikings survived another couple of scares before Owens increased the lead after joining the line and muscling over from close range. For the third time in the first half, Owens failed to add the extras and Widnes went into the dressing rooms leading 12-6 at the interval.

Hornets started the second period on the front foot aided and abetted by some Vikings errors but eight minutes in a searing Ashall-Bott break set up the position from which Craven dummied his way over from ten metres out with Owens notching his first conversion of the game.

On 56 minutes, an intelligent last tackle kick to the posts by Gilmore saw Owens race through to touch down for his second try and his goal made it 24-6.

A scrum move brough Ah Van’s second try - a stroll in at the left corner which Owens goaled superbly and Ashall-Bott celebrated his comeback with a try on last tackle from Owens’ superb offload. A melee after the touchdown resulted in Hep Cahill and Rochdale centre Brandon Wood being sent to the sin-bin.

Owens hat-trick score was the try of the match as Harrison Hansen broke from deep, handed on to Ashall-Bott who kicked up centre field for his fullback to pounce for a six-pointer which made it 40-6.

The latter stages fizzled out with Widnes happy with their afternoon’s work but Rochdale managed a consolation score from prop Callum Marriot to make the final score 40-12.

Widnes: Owens; Ashall-Bott, Dean, Roby, Ah Van; Craven, Gilmore; J Chapelhow, Johnstone, T Chapelhow, Wilde, Hansen, Cahill. Subs: Dugdale, Farnworth, Leuluai, Norman.

Rochdale: Thomas; Ainscough, Case, Wood, Brown; Bourrel, Farrell; Marriott, Wood, Lawton, Weldon, Shelford, Robson. Subs: Baker,Sheridan, Kilner, Mitchell.

Half-Time: 12-6

Referee: Mr G Hewer

Attendance: 3,780