WIDNES tamely relinquished their hold on the Northern Rail Cup when they were thrashed 50-18 by Celtic Crusaders at Brewery Field.

The final scoreline is a fair reflection of the difference between the two sides on the day, with the Vikings on the back foot from the first whistle.

In scrum-half Jace Van Dijk and loose-forward Neale Wyatt, the home side had the two most impressive performers on the field.

Van Dijk directed his players round the pitch with an air of authority and always seemed to find the right pass at the right time.

Wyatt was a tireless runner who gave the Widnes defence trouble every time he had the ball.

The Crusaders dominated possession and field position from the word go but their opening salvos were denied by some desperate last-ditch tackling.

Indeed, Widnes could even have taken the lead, but Richard Fletcher's determined run saw him held up over the line.

Steve McCormack's men eventually gave in to what seemed like the inevitable on 16 minutes when giant centre Mark Dalle Cort crashed in after a 60-metre break by Tony Duggan had set up the position.

Ten minutes later a Van Dijk delayed pass sent Aaron Summers, one of four ex-Vikings in the Celtic ranks, striding to the line with stand-off Damien Quinn adding the extras.

Van Dijk was the creator again when Quinn touched down beneath posts for a self-converted score just two minutes later and it was difficult to argue against a 16-0 scoreline at that point.

Against the run of play, the Vikings kept themselves in touch at the interval when Iain Morrison scored after fine work by Lee Paterson with Gavin Dodd's conversion making it 16-6.

Dalle Cort scored his second of the evening from Duggan's inside ball early in the second period and although Dean Gaskell pulled a six-pointer back for Widnes, one sensed it was only a matter of time before Celtic cut loose.

Second row pairing Darren Mapp and Chris Beasley both breezed in from Van Dijk passes and the scrum-half was once again the provider for right winger Paul Ballard's try.

Steven Roper's neatly taken try for Widnes was something of an irrelevance to the final outcome and was immediately followed by Ballard's second.

This one came after Jordan James had intercepted a pass on his own line before releasing Ballard to finish off from 70 metres.

Fittingly perhaps, Van Dijk had the last word when he backed up an Ian Webster break to stroll underneath the posts.

A bad day at the office for Widnes against a talented Crusaders side.

A major improvement will be required for the Vikings to get the points at Featherstone next time out.

Widnes: Hardman; Gaskell (1t), Paterson, Grady, Dodd (3g); Beswick, Duffy; Kavanagh, Smith, Gannon, Hill, Morrison (1t), Fletcher. Subs: Roper (1t), Barlow, Donoghue, Draper.