Widnes 20 Hull KR 16: Robins deserved nothing, admits beaten coach Chester

Ben Cockayne scored a try for Hull KR.
Ben Cockayne scored a try for Hull KR.
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Widnes had to survive a tense finish before taking the spoils against Hull KR at the Select Security Stadium.

Two tries in the last quarter got Rovers within touching distance but the Vikings’ last-ditch defence enabled them to hold onto the two points.

Paddy Flynn (two) and Danny Galea touched down for the hosts, with the visitors’ tries scored by Ben Cockayne, Ken Sio and Kris Welham.

After a couple of cautious sets, the Vikings got the scoreboard ticking when Joe Mellor and Stefan Marsh combined to create the space for right winger Flynn to cut inside two defenders on his way to the line. Jack Owens’s conversion made it 6-0.

Rovers replied when a smart, short grubber-kick from half-back Albert Kelly allowed full-back Cockayne to touch down wide out for a four-pointer.

Both Ken Sio and Maurice Blair went close for the Robins but Widnes took the lead as Mellor sent Galea crashing in, and Owens’s penalty made it 14-4 at the break.

The Vikings thought they had increased their lead when Owens went crashing towards the corner flag but the officials ruled he had been bundled into touch.

Hull KR had their own hard-luck story when Mantellato had a ‘try’ chalked off for a forward pass and from the resulting scrum Flynn broke clear for the Vikings and raced 90 metres for a dramatic score, goaled by Owens, to make it 20-4.

A clean break by Cockayne got Rovers back on the front foot and they hit back when Sio jumped highest to snatch a Terry Campese cross-kick and slam the ball down. Mantellato’s conversion cut the deficit to 10 points.

Just three minutes later, a penalty conceded on the last tackle of a set proved costly for Widnes as their opponents swept upfield and Welham crossed for a converted try to set up a nervous last 15 minutes.

Speedster Sio appeared to have an opportunity up the right but was bundled into touch by Owens and a 40/20 attempt by Campese came up short.

In desperation, with the clock ticking down, Rovers threw everything at the Widnes line but the Vikings held firm.

Rovers head coach Chris Chester was philosophical in defeat.

He said: “I thought the effort was there, but I don’t think we deserved to get anything out of the game.

“Our first-half performance was a long way off and we got our just rewards.

“But we didn’t really get any field position.

“Our effort to get back in the game when we went 20-4 behind was fantastic. We gave ourselves a really good chance of winning.”

Widnes: Hanbury, Flynn, Marsh, Phelps, Owens, Gore, Mellor, Dudson, Heremaia, Gerrard, Clarkson, Galea, Leuluai. Substitutes: Tickle, Manuokafoa, Kavanagh, Joseph.

Hull KR: Cockayne, Mantellato, Welham, Salter, Sio, Campese, Kelly, Walker, Lunt, Burke, McCarthy, Blair, Larroyer. Substitutes: Horne, Boudebza, Green, Donaldson.

Referee: M Thomason (RFL).