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Super League: Widnes Vikings sign-off in style at home with win over Hull KR
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Widnes ended their home Super League programme on a positive note with a 36-22 win after holding off a second-half rally from Hull KR.
A fine first-half performance saw the Vikings build an 18-0 half-time lead through tries by Kevin Brown, Rhys Hanbury and a magnificent rampaging 40-metre effort from second row forward Adam Lawton, all converted by Jack Owens.
While an early second-half try by Joe Mellor, again converted by Owens, stretched their advantage to 24-0, David Hodgson claimed two touchdowns in two minutes, both converted by Michael Dobson, to cut the lead to just 12 points.
And it got better for the visitors when Josh Hodgson scored his side's third try eight minutes later, again converted by Dobson, to set up a grand finale at 24-18.
But Widnes settled the nerves when Patrick Ah Van crossed for a try nine minutes from time and although David Hodgson still had time to complete his hat-trick, Frank Winterstein crossed for the hosts three minutes from time to seal the win.
The Vikings were quickest out of the blocks and were ahead after just three minutes when stand-off Brown sold an outrageous dummy and scythed through the Rovers defence to race 20 metres to score.
The visitors should have drawn level midway through the first half but prop forward Evam Tuimavave lost possession over the line as he attempted to touch down. And to compound matters further Hull KR were then reduced to 12 men when Travis Burns was sent to the sin bin as he prevented Owens from taking a quick tap restart.
Widnes made their extra man pay on 24 minutes when, from a scrum just short of half way, the ball was moved out to Lawton and the giant second-row forward went on his 40-metre run, swatting off three Rovers defenders, to score a magnificent try in the corner.
The home side then got the third try their play deserved in the final minute when Brown's kick was pounced upon by Hanbury to score, with Owens maintaining his 100 per cent record with the boot to give the Vikings an 18-0 interval advantage.
Widnes almost increased their lead immediately after the restart but both Cameron Phelps and Ah Van were denied by forward pass calls by the referee. But their enterprising display was rewarded after 48 minutes when Gareth Hock sent Mellor over under the posts and Owens converted to stretch the lead to 24-0.
The visitors finally burst into life on the hour mark with two tries in two minutes from winger David Hodgson, both converted by Dobson, to cut the deficit to 12 points at 24-12 and give them hope of a dramatic comeback.
And there was real hope for Rovers when Josh Hodgson stole the ball from Owens and touched down on 68 minutes and Dobson's conversion went in off the upright to make it 24-18.
A try from Ah Van settled Widnes nerves but the Robins hit back again when David Hodgson completed his hat-trick, but Winterstein's late score sent the Widnes fans home happy.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington Wolves vs Salford Red Devils|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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