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Super League: Widnes 36-10 Leigh: Vikings see off fellow strugglers

Australian duo Chris Houston and Corey Thompson scored doubles as the Widnes beat Leigh 36-10 in the battle of two of Super League’s strugglers.

Widnes and Leigh have been slugging it out at the foot of the table since April but the Vikings, who welcomed back a ruck of stars, put in an assured first-half display where they ran in four tries, which was enough for Denis Betts’ men to get the job done despite a second-half stutter.

As a result, they climb off the bottom of the table and are replaced by Leigh, with a point between the two.

The home side were well ahead in the energy battle and it showed in a high-octane 20 minutes where the Vikings laid down a marker.

The shot in the arm came early after they welcomed back experienced trio Joe Mellor, Lloyd White and Chris Bridge, all players who have spent weeks on the sidelines.

Veteran centre Bridge rolled back the years with an impressive display and he got the try scoring under way after only two minutes of play.

Five minutes later enthusiastic Widnes hit the afterburners again as Aaron Heremaia scooted out of dummy half to pass to Rangi Chase who sent in Houston for his first of the night.

Leigh were well off the pace and looked lost as they head into a crucial period of the season with only eight games remaining.

They had a minor reprieve midway through the half as Mitch Brown made a rare break but Mellor ran him down and felled the pacey full-back.

Thompson got in on the act just after the half-hour as he received White’s pass to spin his way over after finding himself in what looked an impossible scoring position.

Leigh’s Antoni Maria had one chalked off as the Centurions ran the ball on the last tackle but the big Frenchman could not ground the ball.

With seconds remaining in the first period Widnes shot over again. Houston bulldozed his way over after White had slipped him a neat pass.

At 20-0 it was a case of how many more the Vikings would score as Leigh looked a spent force.

It was Leigh, however, who drew first blood in the second half as Nick Rawsthorne slid over for a debut score. Josh Drinkwater added the extras and it did breathe new life into the Centurions as minutes later they registered another four-pointer.

Widnes were wobbling and when fast hands created an overlap, Atelea Vea rolled his way across the whitewash to make it interesting.

The conversion was missed but Leigh had the Vikings on the rack. From nowhere they were back in the game, but as quick as they were back in it a loose pass from half-back Ryan Hampshire gifted Thompson with an open run to the line that made Widnes’ lead unassailable.

Ryan Ince looked to have the final say for Widnes as Leigh looked to force the issue late on. The winger got on the end of a counter attack to race in out wide.

However, there was still time for Matty Whitley to get another Widnes try on the hooter as the Vikings kept the ball alive.

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