Super League: Widnes Vikings 38-24 Leeds Rhinos

Chris Clarkson
Chris Clarkson is on a season-long loan at Widnes from Leeds
First Utility Super League
Widnes Vikings (16) 38
Tries: Clarkson, Marsh, Mellor, Galea, Manuokafoa, Dean, Heremaia Goals: Owens 5
Leeds Rhinos (14) 24
Tries: Ward, Moon, Watkins 2, Keinhorst Goals: Sutcliffe 2

Super League leaders Leeds Rhinos were beaten at Widnes, with on-loan Vikings forward Chris Clarkson scoring a try against his parent club.

Leeds began the game knowing a win would take them four points clear at the top of the table.

But Clarkson went over for one of seven Widnes tries as the hosts moved within a point of a place in the top eight.

Kallum Watkins' brace of tries for Leeds proved in vain as Widnes raced clear in the closing minutes.

The Rhinos were within four points with eight minutes remaining but Chris Dean and Aaron Heremaia completed a hard-fought home victory with late tries.

Leeds - who again left out captain Kevin Sinfield - recovered well from Clarkson's opening score to go over twice in quick succession, as Stevie Ward and Joel Moon profited from Widnes' failure to deal with attacking kicks.

Jack Owens set up Stefan Marsh to level and Joe Mellor's 40-metre dash to the line put the Vikings 16-14 up at the interval, Leeds centre Watkins going over for his first try of the game just before the break.

Widnes built a healthy lead with tries from Danny Galea and Manase Manuokafoa early in the second half, but Watkins touched down Liam Sutcliffe's kick for his second and Jimmy Keinhorst's effort, after good work from Danny McGuire, closed the gap further.

However, Dean and Heremaia ensured Widnes moved up to 10th position and kept Leeds just two points ahead of second-placed Wigan.

Widnes coach Denis Betts: "We were great and we had played well in our last two games against St Helens and Warrington without any reward.

"There are a lot of tired bodies in the dressing room, but happy players too.

"We just had enough energy left at the end to get away from Leeds and this is another one ticked off.

"It was another fantastic game and if you love rugby league come and watch Widnes, although at times it's not good for my heart."

Leeds boss Brian McDermott: "We had a chance when we got back to within four points but I didn't think we were that great.

"Had we won I was getting my mind ready to still tell the players that all's still not well."

"The result went the right way. We weren't error-riddled, but conceded some tries we should have defended."

Widnes Vikings: Hanbury; Owens, Marsh, Dean, Ah Van; Brown, Mellor; Dudson, White, Gerrard, Clarkson, Galea, Isa.

Replacements: Heremaia, Manuokafoa, Joseph, Whitley.

Leeds Rhinos: Hardaker; Watkins, Keinhorst, Moon, Handley; Sutcliffe, McGuire; Cuthbertson, Burrow, Singleton, Ward, Ablett, Delaney.

Replacements: Aiton, Peacock, Achurch, Walters.

Referee: Phil Bentham