Widnes Vikings were beaten 34-0 by Castleford Tigers at the Halton Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
It was the home side that started the brighter and for the opening 20 minutes were the team that were in the ascendency and were denied twice in the opening five minutes as both Jack Buchanan and Hep Cahill were held up over the line following good Castleford defence.
Two minutes later, the Vikings were in through Stefan Marsh from a Rhys Hanbury cut out pass, but referee Jack Smith pulled the play back for a forward pass.
The away side seemed to gain confidence from not conceding after being under pressure from the Vikings and the table toppers capitalised for the opening score through Greg Minikin. Paul McShane quickly switched the play down their short, right hand edge and McMeeken offloaded the ball to find Minikin who stepped by a Vikings defender to score. Luke Gale added the extras.
The 21 year-old would then grab his second of the afternoon 10 minutes later to extend the Tigers’ lead. Substitute Ben Roberts broke the Vikings line and offloaded to Joel Monaghan, who stepped to his right and passed out to his right to the supporting McMeeken. The second rower only had to draw in the Vikings defender before passing out to Minikin to score near the corner. Luke Gale again converted from the touchline.
Following Rhys Hanbury’s restart going out on the full, the Tigers were back in the ascendency and extended their lead further through Michael Shenton. Castleford shifted the ball left and Luke Gale gave the ball to Hardake who put Shenton into a gap and evaded a Vikings tackler in Thompson to score. Gale added the extras once more to make it 18-0.
The league leaders would then add one more try before half-time by off-season recruit Greg Eden. On the back of a penalty received on their clearing set from Shenton’s try, the Tigers shifted the ball quickly from right-to-left through a number of hands to find Shenton who patted the ball onto to Eden who finished well in the left hand corner. Gale hit the post and missed this conversion to make it 22-0 at the break.
Half-Time: Widnes Vikings 0-22 Castleford Tigers.
Castleford started the second half as they finished the first and would quickly push themselves further ahead through forward Matt Cook. The 30-year old crashed onto a short, flat pass and was able to muscle his way over the try line for a 4-pointer close to the sticks. Luke Gale made it 28-0 with the boot.
Eden would join Minikin with two tries for the afternoon with a try five minutes later. Just like his first try, Castleford shifted the ball to their left edge and Shenton brilliantly palmed an incoming pass into Eden’s path who scored in the corner. Gale converted to make it 34-0 and that’s how the scoreline ended as both sides could not capitalise on attacking positions in the last twenty minutes.
Full-Time: Widnes Vikings 0-34 Castleford Tigers.
Widnes Vikings: Hanbury; Thompson, Armstrong, Runciman, Marsh; Bridge, Craven; J. Chapelhow, White, Buchanan, Houston, Whitley, Cahill
Replacements: Heremaia, Leuluai, Olbison, Burke
Castleford Tigers: Hardaker; Monaghan, Minikin, Shenton, Eden; McShane, Gale; Lynch, Milner, Springer, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Massey.
Replacements: Moors, Millington, Cook, Roberts
Referee: Jack Smith