Super League: Widnes Vikings 36-10 Leigh Centurions
|Betfred Super League|
|Widnes (20) 36|
|Tries: Bridge, Houston 2, Thompson 2, Ince, Whitley Goals: Bridge 3, Craven|
|Leigh (0) 10|
|Tries: Rawsthorne, Vea Goal: Drinkwater|
Widnes capitalised on a dominant first-half display to move above Leigh at the foot of the Super League table.
They seized the initiative with early tries by Chris Bridge and Chris Houston before Corey Thompson added a third.
Antoni Maria was denied a reply by the video referee and Houston went in again to put Widnes 20-0 up at half-time.
Nick Rawsthorne and Atelea Vea reduced the deficit, but Thompson and Ryan Ince scored for the Vikings before Matty Whitley crossed after the hooter.
Rangi Chase was an influential figure in Widnes' third successive home win, but it was a disappointing final game in England for Dayne Weston, who will retire after Leigh's trip to Catalans Dragons on 1 July because of ankle problems.
The Centurions, who released Australia centre Willie Tonga on Wednesday, at least showed plenty of spirit after the break.
Rawsthorne, signed on loan from Hull FC, went in at the corner and Vea punched through a hole in the Widnes defence to cut the deficit to 10 points.
But a mistake by Ryan Hampshire allowed Thompson to run 60 yards unchallenged for his second, and they were punished again as Ince scored his ninth try of the season.
Ince touched down out wide before Whitley went over in the final moments and Danny Craven converted from the touchline as Widnes moved one point above their opponents.
Widnes head coach Denis Betts:
"We looked more in control. We are starting to get bodies back now and that is obviously helping. We've brought more experience in and that's good for us.
"If we would have had proper combinations this year then who knows? It's all ifs and buts but we are getting some quality back. You can kill yourself with what-ifs. We've lost three games where we were in total control.
"Wherever we end up we will end up knowing we have players back who are playing well. We have got to put in some more good performances. We have enjoyed this last month, three wins from four games."
Leigh head coach Neil Jukes:
"It was an awful first half. I still can't get my head around it. We had a tough week and got some good talk going so we were confident. We even spoke about this as being a cup final.
"We felt good, we trained well - everything was good but after the first set it was gone. Maybe everyone thought we were in a good place when nobody was in a good place.
"It's a bad as I've seen. It was disappointing for a game of this magnitude."
Widnes Vikings: Craven, Thompson, Bridge, Runciman, Ince, Mellor, Chase, Dudson, Heremaia, Buchanan, Houston, Whitley, Cahill.
Replacements: O'Carroll, White, Gerrard, Olbison.
Leigh Centurions: Brown, Dawson, Crooks, Paterson, Rawsthorne, Hampshire, Drinkwater, Burr, Pelissier, Weston, Vea, Hansen, Stewart.
Replacements: Hood, Tickle, Maria, Hopkins.
Referee: James Child