Vikings battle to crucial win
Widnes beat Hull KR 28-10 to tighten their grip on the final First Utility Super League play-off place in a physical encounter at the Select Security Stadium.
Two tries in as many minutes at the beginning of the second half gave the eighth-placed Vikings the confidence to see out the game - with the win helping Denis Betts' side climb three points ahead of KR in the standings.
The hosts did not have it all their own way though as Hull KR threw everything at them but in the end the visitors did not have the power to deal with the vibrant Vikings, who head into next week's Tetley's Challenge Cup semi-final against Castleford in great shape.
With only one point separating the two teams beforehand, it was always going to be a tense affair and that was the way the first period played out.
The Vikings got their noses in front after ten minutes as Jack Owens latched onto a Kevin Brown cross-field kick to put the home side in charge.
Hull KR winger Ade Gardner was left in no man's land as the pinpoint kick caught him napping on the right flank. Owens was on hand to zoom up behind him and over for the first try of the afternoon. Danny Tickle missed the conversion.
The Robins thought they had hit back immediately through dangerous Australian stand-off Travis Burns but that effort was ruled out by referee Robert Hicks for an infringement.
Rovers were not to be denied, though, as Burns linked up with James Green to send over Kris Keating for a well-worked score. Burns could not add the conversion.
Willie Isa then rampaged his way forward and his offload to Rhys Hanbury gave the Vikings full-back some room to manoeuvre and he passed to Danny Galea who sent in Chris Dean for a sweeping Widnes try. Tickle was on target with the conversion to put Widnes 10-4 in front at half-time.
It did not stay that way for long after the interval as Widnes stretched their lead to 12 as Joe Mellor finished off a superb break from Dave Allen to romp home under the posts. Tickle added the extras and Denis Betts' men were well in command.
The Vikings came out the traps aggressively and they were in again two minutes later as Dean turned the Robins defence inside out and his timely pass to Owens was enough to create the score for Brown.
The Robins put themselves back in it, however, on 50 minutes as powerful back rower Jason Chan burst over to give Burns an easy conversion.
The tit-for-tat scoring continued, this time it was Vikings' centre Stefan Marsh speeding over after good work from Brown and Mellor. Owens was unsuccessful with the touchline conversion.
Owens was in action again on the opposite flank after Hanbury's terrific solo score. The Robins kept plugging away, with Ben Cockayne going close, but the Vikings held on to extend their cushion in eighth spot to three points.