THE Vikings went down 42-26 to Super League giants St Helens in the Karalius Cup but showed a fighting spirit which augurs well for the 2010 campaign.

Saints arrived at Stobart Stadium Halton with more than a sprinkling of players who can expect to regularly don first-team jerseys in the coming season and dominated proceedings early on.

Four unanswered tries in the first 18 minutes saw Mick Potter's men take a 22-0 lead in the first quarter of the match but once they managed to get their hands on some decent possession, Widnes showed some quality.

Fullback James Ford fluffed a golden opportunity before the Vikings broke their duck when youngster Dean Thompson crashed over wide out.

On the half-hour the same man was in again as raced through from 20 metres from James Coyle's drop-off.

Winger Tom Armstrong increased Saints lead before superb inter-passing between Anthony Thackeray and Danny Hulme saw the former finish off at the posts after an 80 metre move.

At just 26-18 down at the interval, Widnes were back in it and pulled a further four points back when Matt Strong capitalised on a fumble over the opposition line.

Tries from Gary Wheeler and Chris Dean eased the nerves for Saints before debutant winger Matt Gardner was first to react to a grubber-kick to touch down for the Vikings.

A further score for Paul Cullen's men would have set up a grandstand finish but it was the visitors who finished things off when scrum-half Jamie Ellis went over from close range.

Widnes: Ford; Crompton, Thompson (2t), Grady (3g), Gardner (1t); Thackeray (1t), Webster; Pickersgill, M Smith, Gannon, Allen, Doran, Gerrard. Subs: Coyle, Yates, Strong (1t), Kavanagh, Houghton, J Smith, Hulme.