Hull KR 44 Widness Vikings 18: Long wait for victory is over for relieved Hull KR

JUST as the locals started growing restless, Widnes Vikings arrived and Hull KR head coach Craig Sandercock finally has his first win since last July.

Hull KR's Omari Caro gets way from Widnes Vikings' Willie Isa to score

The pressure had begun to mount a little on the Australian after seven successive defeats, including losses this season against Catalan and Wakefield, left plenty of question marks.

But the East Riding club – buoyed by the return yesterday of centre Kris Welham, Huddersfield Giants capture Greg Eden and the ever-reliable Rhys Lovegrove – emphatically ensured their season got up and running.

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Such was their dominance, with menacing second-row duo Con Mika and Corey Paterson in brutal form, they led 34-0 at half-time after completely blitzing embarrassed Widnes.

Asked whether it was good to win for the first time in eight fixtures, Sandercock tersely replied: “It’s a first win in three as far as I’m concerned.

“I was very happy with the first 40 minutes; we controlled the game well and scored some really nice tries but we had some quality players back and that always helps.

“The second half was disappointing – we gave away an awful lot of penalties – but I want to concentrate on the positives and that first half lay the platform for this win.”

Slow-starting Rovers had found themselves facing huge and irretrievable early deficits in their first couple of matches of this campaign but impressively reversed that trend yesterday.

Sandercock added: “It all goes back to possession.

“When you’re defending set after set like those first two games you don’t have that energy but here, when we got our fair share of ball, you saw what that extra energy did for our defence.”

Rovers were off the mark as early as the eighth minute but there was no sign of the utter carnage to come.

Widnes’s Paddy Flynn had dragged down a flying Omari Caro only to see Michael Dobson – who also finished with six goals – step over at the next play.

Stefan Marsh also recovered well to deny Rovers winger David Hodgson soon after but then, in the first half at least, it seemed like there was very few meaningful tackles made by the woeful visitors.

Caro had been denied once but, officially the fastest man in Super League, he would not be at the second opportunity.

Rhys Hanbury’s wayward pass was picked up by the 21-year-old and he sprinted 60m to secure his second try in three games since moving north from London Broncos.

Chris Heil wasted another opportunity when he selfishly ignored Caro on the overlap only to be held up by Willie Isa but Rovers had still forged 16-0 ahead by the 20th minute.

Mika rattled Steve Pickersgill with one punishing hit that left the aggrieved Widnes prop petulantly reacting – and duly failing to play the ball correctly.

From there, Craig Hall’s lovely short pass opened the visitors up again for Huddersfield Giants loanee Dale Ferguson to barrel through Shaun Briscoe’s attempted tackle.

Rovers stepped up their intensity further with Josh Hodgson – the young hooker who must have impressed watching England coach Steve McNamara – smashing Alex Gerrard with a thunderous tackle only to be bettered in the very next play by yet another stunning hit from Mika on the hapless Phil Jospeh.

Even Briscoe, who served Rovers and Hull FC with such distinction and is ordinarily so reliable, could not escape falling into the malaise.

The ex-England full-back spilled Dobson’s towering kick but, still, Evarn Tuimavave should never have been allowed to smuggle out an offload for Welham to cruise between the sticks.

Playing his first Super League since breaking a leg against Catalan last June and fracturing his hand in pre-season, the stylish centre enjoyed a comfortable return.

Lovegrove came off the bench to great effect, too, squeezing out an offload on the Widnes line for Graeme Horne to cross and then, in the very next set, surging clear from halfway for full-back Eden to grab a debut try.

In both instances, though, the Rovers replacement had no right to forge such assists but the visiting Widnes defence proved abysmal.

To the visitors’ credit, things improved slightly after the break.

Paterson was put on report for a high tackle on Briscoe in the 44th minute which was followed immediately by Widnes’s marquee signing Gareth Hock scoring his first try for the club.

Hanbury added the extras and Hock should also have done better when Chris Dean broke Rovers’ right edge.

Hanbury went over for a solo try on the hour, fending Heil and converting, but the Rovers centre atoned for his error, straightening up nicely to hit Ferguson’s pass and assuage some of the demanding Rovers’ fans growing unease.

Hall, who proves so crafty when playing at stand-off, then angled through on a 40m run off Dobson’s pass direct from the scrum as the Widnes defence returned to its previous guise, but Gerrard ensured the visitors had the last word with a try at the death.

Widnes coach Denis Betts, who saw his side push St Helens close last week, said: “The first 15 minutes was an arm wrestle and we blew first.

“They scored 10 points and grew another another leg but we compounded our own problems and we just couldn’t get back in to it with error after error.

“I’m really disappointed in the scoreline.”

Hull KR: Eden; Caro, Heil, Welham, D Hodgson; Hall, Dobson; Tuimavave, J Hodgson, Walker, Mika, Paterson, Ferguson. Substitutes: Paea, Horne, Lovegrove, Carlile.

Widnes: Briscoe; Flynn, Marsh, Dean, Isa; Mellor, Hanbury; Pickersgill, Clarke, O’Carroll, Allen, Leuluai, Cahill. Substitutes: White, Hock, Joseph, Gerrard.

Referee: T Roby (York).