Match reports / Rugby League

Match report: Widnes 0-34 Castleford

Widnes have lost three out of their four opening Super League matches.

Widnes’ search for a first Super League win goes on after suffering a comprehensive 34-0 defeat against Castleford at the Select Security Stadium.

The Chemics failed to use the hard-earned draw against Catalan as a platform to push on for the rest of the year.

After a valiant display in Perpignan last week, Widnes head coach Denis Betts made just the one change with Jay Chapelhow replacing Gil Duson in the front row.

Keen to maintain their unbeaten start, Daryl Powell refused to cause too much disruption to the starting 13, Joel Monaghan coming in for Jake Webster on the wing.

Widnes almost reaped the rewards of forcing a repeat set in the opening stages, Stefan Marsh diving over in the corner after Rhys Hanbury’s spot but referee Jack Smith deemed it forward.

Danny Craven looked to have posted the Vikings’ first try but came up against some strong defence from Castleford and was subsequently dragged out of play. Moments later the Tigers took the lead in controversial fashion, Greg Minikin being put in after what appeared to be a forward pass from Mike McMeeken.

Luke Gale appeared to have played Greg Eden in for his fourth try in as many games but was thwarted by Corey Thompson’s cover tackle.

After being slow out of the blocks, Cas found themselves in another promising position but Ben Roberts fumbled the ball 10m from the whitewash after Jesse Sene-Lefao’s neat offload.

Roberts atoned for his error two minutes later, making a 50m dart before picking out McMeken who set up Minikin for his second of the afternoon.

Widnes head coach Denis Betts would have stressed the importance of not making silly errors against an in-form side like the Tigers but Rhys Hanbury did exactly that kicking the ball out on the full from kick-off.

A minute later and Castleford took full advantage, Michael Shenton receiving the ball off Zak Hardaker before diving across for his 100th career try.

The relationship between Gale and Hardaker had been a key part of everything good Castleford have done so far this season and it was responsible for another Tigers try, the latter’s flicked pass sending Eden over.

Widnes’ task of coming back into the game was made even more difficult when Matt Cook crashed over ten minutes into the second half after coming onto a short ball from Gale. The England and Tigers half-back claimed another significant personal milestone, kicking his 1500th career point.

Not to be outdone by his opposite number, Eden dived across for his second score of the game after a clever flicked pass from Shenton.

In a rare spell near the Castleford line, Tom Armstrong was the man who had a good chance to register Widnes’ first try of the afternoon but fumbled Chris Bridge’s pass.

Hardaker, who had played an influential role in pulling the Chemics from one side to the other, almost set up Eden up his second hat-trick in as many weeks but danger was averted by Thompson’s hand.

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