Bradford Bulls 12 Widnes Vikings 32: Relegated Bulls finish on a low as Marsh nets hat-trick

Bradford Bulls coach James Lowes
Bradford Bulls coach James Lowes
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Stefan Marsh claimed a second half hat-trick as Widnes ensured their place in the Super League play-offs with a 32-12 victory at Bradford in a match which marked the end of top-flight rugby at Odsal.

The Vikings, needing just a point to move out of reach of pre-match rivals Hull KR and Wakefield, outscored the Bulls seven tries to two with winger Paddy Flynn adding two more touchdowns and both Patrick Ah Van and Lloyd White notching one apiece.

The success came after they rallied from 12-8 down at half-time and means Widnes will now contest play-off rugby for the first time.

Bradford, looking to go out on a high in their last home match before being relegated to the Kingstone Press Championship, were behind after two minutes.

They were caught short on their left side and a long missed pass from Danny Tickle put Flynn over near the corner flag, although Tickle failed to add the extras from the touchline.

Flynn was in again following a misplaced high bomb from Kevin Brown. Tickle again swung the conversion wide and the Bulls hit back just three minutes later with momentum carrying Tom Olbison through an attempted tackle and over the whitewash.

Luke Gale converted to take his career tally above the 500-point markd.

Danny Williams was held up trying to touch down before the pressure eventually told and Chev Walker powered his way through a ruck of players, Gale again bisecting the uprights.

But that was as good as it got for Bradford, as March raced in for his treble, although Tickle kept his unwanted 100 per cent record by missing his fifth straight conversion.

To rub salt in Bradford’s wounds, former Bulls winger Ah Van grabbed a late sixth try and White a seventh for Widnes.

With Tickle now off the pitch, Phelps converted each to leave a slightly unreflective final score.

Bradford: Kearney, Henry, Adams, Walker, Williams, Gaskell, Gale, Manuokafoa, O’Brien, Sidlow, Olbison, Pitts, Addy. Substitutes: Arundel, Blythe, Fakir, Donaldson.

Widnes: Hanbury, Flynn, Marsh, Phelps, Ah Van, Brown, Mellor, O’Carroll, Clarke, Johnson, Galea, Tickle, Cahill. Substitutes: White, Leuluai, Joseph, Dean.

Referee: R Hicks (RFL).