WIDNES kept their bid to retain the Northern Rail Cup on track as they defeated Swinton Lions 36-12 at Sedgley Park.

The Vikings went into the match requiring just a bonus point to qualify for the quarter-finals but ultimately came away with all three despite a gallant effort from their Co-operative Championship One opponents.

Conditions at Sedgley Park were such that attcking rugby was always likely to be difficlt but both sides did their best to entertain the 816 spectators who braved the elements.

Widnes were far from faultless but always gave the impression they had an extra gear or two in hand should it be required.

The home side took an early lead when fullback Richie Hawkyard crossed for a converted try but the advantage was quickly cut to 6-4 as Toa Kohe-Love burrowed in for the Vikings.

A great long pass from Mark Smith created the room for Shane Grady to send wing partner Matt Gardner in to give the Vikings the lead on eleven minutes with Grady adding the extras.

Ex-Viking Gavin Dodd got the Lions back on level terms but that was as good as it got for Paul Smith's men.

Grady sailed over from 30 metres to put Widnes back in front and although Dodd pulled two points back with a penalty it was Widnes who finished the half in the ascendancy when winger Shaun Ainscough audaciously stole the ball from opposite number Rob Foxen to stretch the lead to 20-12.

The second period was pretty much one way traffic.

The Vikings fluffed several chances before Kohe-Love crossed for his second try thanks to some dazzling footwork close to the opposition line.

The best try came on 53 minutes when prop Gareth Haggerty surged up the middle and picked the right supporting option in the shape of Smith who outpaced the defensive cover on a 45 metre dash to the pots.

Grady's conversion made it 32-6.

The final quarter of the match saw both sides struggling with ball retention but it was the Vikings who had the final word.

Quick hands created the overlap and Anthony Thackeray took the final pass to score in the right corner.

The Vikings will enter the quarter-final draw with a genuine belief they can repeat their Northern Rail success of 2009.

Widnes: Ford; Ainscough (1t), Kohe-Love (2t), Grady (1t,4g), Gardner (1t); Thackeray (1t), Webster; Haggerty, Smith (1t), Kavanagh, Doran, Farrell, Allen. Subs: Gerrard, Coyle, Houghton, Davies.