Full Time: City Reds 8 - Vikings 46
Friday 20th July 2012
Salford City Reds 8 - Widnes Vikings 46
WIDNES grabbed their first away win in Super League since June 2005 with a 46-8 demolition of Salford City Reds.
This was a seven-year itch well and truly scratched.
The victory was just reward for the Vikings players and coaching staff who've stuck to their guns throughout a difficult first season back in the top flight.
The improvement over recent weeks has been nothing short of startling and the City Reds felt the full force of the confidence running through the Widnes team.
There were many impressive performers on the night but none more so than half-back Rhys Hanbury.
The Australian terrorised the opposition with his pace as he scorched in for two long range tries. Added to a seven goal haul, it brought his personal points tally to 22 points.
The early exchanges suggested a tense affair was on the cards with both defences working overtime to keep the opposition at bay. Gradually, however, the Vikings pack began to assert its superiority and they began to dominate field position.
It took until the 23rd minute to finally break the deadlock when impressive fullback Cameron Phelps stepped out of a tackle to dive over behind the posts.
The Vikings lead was doubled when Patrick Ah Van crossed wide out after more pressure.
It was now one-way traffic and it came as no surprise when hooker Paul McShane's enterprising chip saw Ah Van regather gleefully to touch down.
Just when the home side thought it couldn't get any worse with the half-time hooter imminent, it did. Phelps, perhaps with a degree of good fortune, swept up a Salford kick and released Hanbury. With a broken field ahead of him, he accelerated past City Reds centre Sean Gleeson to score from sixty metres. His fourth successful conversion made it 24-0 at the break.
Salford threatened briefly at the start of the second half but once Jordan James was denied by superb last-ditch Widnes defence, normal service was resumed.
More concerted pressure on the home line allowed McShane to squeeze over from dummy-half and Hanbury made another searing break to send Phelps over for his second try of the night.
One or two in the Reds camp may have wanted to pack it in there and then and some of their fans did just that as they streamed for the exits.
Widnes carried on regardless and yet another Hanbury breakaway from deep inside his own half saw him take on Salford fullback Luke Patten in a foot race and beat him to the left corner.
At 40-0 the game was up for the home side but to their credit they pulled a couple of scores back through Ashley Gibson and Danny Williams.
But it was the Vikings who had the last word.
With Salford's attacking forays becoming increasingly desperate, Widnes substitute Danny Craven was alive to the possibilities and picked off an interception before racing 40 metres to the line. Hanbury's seventh goal completed the scoring at 46-8.
The evidence suggests Widnes fans won't have to wait quite so long for their next chance to celebrate a Super League win on enemy territory.
Salford: Patten; Broughton, Gibson, Gleeson, Williams; Holdsworth, Sneyd; Jewitt, Howarth, Boyle, Ashurst, Anderson, Wild. Subs: Sidlow, Palea'aesina, James, Nero.
Widnes: Phelps; Isa, Marsh, Dean, Ah Van; Mellor, Hanbury; Cross, McShane, Pickersgill, Winterstein, Allen, Cahill. Subs: O'Carroll, Davies, Kite, Craven.
Image kindly supplied by Dave Kendall