Widnes overcame a scare to move into the fifth round of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup at the expense of a game Halifax side.
The Championship outfit led 10-6 at the break, but the superb Kevin Brown inspired the Vikings to what eventually was a comfortable win – at least as far as the scoreboard suggested.
The first half was largely dominated by Halifax, and it was the Championship side who took the lead when a smart kick from Scott Murrell was collected by loanee Tommy Saxton, who had the vision to send full-back Ryan Fieldhouse over.
After doing plenty of defending in the following minutes, Halifax were able to streak up-field and extend their lead even further. Murrell was once again the chief architect, this time his fantastic kick finding winger Gareth Potts, who touched down in the corner to delight the home supporters at The Shay.
However, the visitors from Super League upped their game following that early scare, and they got back into it when Jon Clarke charged in under the posts to make it a four-point game. Despite that try, the Vikings were unable to breach a stern Halifax defence for the remainder of the first period, with the home side holding firm on several nervy occasions.
Steve Tyrer then attempted an audacious penalty attempt with less than a minute left on the clock in a bid to further extend the lead – but he pulled it wide, leaving the game finely poised at 10-6 at the break.
Clarke provided a magnificent flat ball for Vikings captain Brown, who darted over. Danny Tickle converted, and Widnes led for the first time.
That led was quickly extended, too. Brown’s pinpoint kicks finding Paddy Flynn then Declan Hulme.
Halifax continued to throw everything they had at their Super League opposition, but the Vikings were standing firm in defence. And that sternness paid dividends, as Widnes grabbed two further tries from former Halifax man Phil Joseph and Brown.
Halifax coach Karl Harrison said: “I’m reasonably pleased. We’ve got bigger games than that this season, but I thought we played well.”
Halifax: Fieldhouse, Saxton, Tyrer, Cowling, Potts, Murrell, Brown, Ambler, Kaye, Bracek, Manning, Divorty, Adamson. Substitutes: Mennell, Tonks, Davies, C. Casey.
Widnes: Owens, Flynn, Dean, Lloyd, Hulme, Brown, White, Gerrard, Clarke, Joseph, Galea, Tickle, Cahill. Substitutes: Clough, Allen, Isa, O’Carroll.
Referee: M Thomason (RFL)