Widnes Vikings 38 Barrow Raiders 14

Barrow Raiders found Widnes Vikings too hot to handle at the Halton Stadium, as their hosts pulled clear of them in the Betfred Championship with an impressive display.

Just one point separated these teams in the table before kick-off, but Widnes are in a false position in reality, as the former Super League side had to make up a 12-point deduction after their financial crisis earlier in the year.

There was definitely a gap in quality, as while Barrow struggled to finish the chances they created, particularly in the first half, the Vikings were clinical and played with a tempo that was hard to live with.

Yet again, Barrow’s injury curse struck, as Dan Toal had to be helped off with what looked like a bad knee injury early in the second half, but Paul Crarey’s side deserve credit for sticking at it right to the last, when there was a real worry they were going to cave in at one point.

Barrow stood firm against some early pressure from Widnes before claiming the first points of the game through a penalty goal from Jamie Dallimore from in front of the posts in the seventh minute.

A mistake then proved costly, as Tee Ritson couldn’t deal with what was a testing, hanging kick from Danny Craven and the loose ball was snaffled by Jay Chapelhow, who had a gap to go through and score.

The Raiders had a good spell deep in Widnes territory, with four repeat sets, but unfortunately it amounted to nothing as decision-making close to the try line let them down.

The inevitable then happened as the Vikings struck off their next attack, as Chris Dean quickly played the ball to Jay Chapelhow, who bundled over for his second try after 24 minutes, which was converted by Owens.

Another Barrow chance went begging when Jono Smith was held up over the line, but Widnes were again clinical when a long pass from Joe Lyons found Jayden Hatton in acres of space down the right for him to score and take the score to 16-2 at half-time.

That lead was extended within three minutes of the restart, as Craven dummied before going over himself before the Vikings produced an excellent try, started by a superb break from Anthony Gelling, as Owens’ pass gave winger Lloyd Roby a walk-in down the left. It was threatening to turn ugly for Barrow, as Widnes added another score in the 50th minute when Lyons wondered in under the posts.

The Vikings were in again just before the hour mark as a sweeping move led to Lyons playing in Hatton again and he finished superbly in the right-hand corner for his second.

The Raiders then finally had something for their efforts when Deon Cross scooped up a loose ball and ran in from 80 metres, with Dallimore tagging on the extra two points.

Ritson then claimed a second try for Barrow with six minutes left when he intercepted a pass on the left and 60 metres of open field to gallop into and score, but it was all academic by this point.

Widnes Vikings: Owens, Roby, Brand, Gelling, Hatton, Craven, Lyons, Cahill, Johnstone, J Chapelhow, Wilde, Dean, Walker.

Interchange: T Chapelhow, Ganson, Leulauai, Norman

Tries: J Chapelhow 11, 24, Hatton 32, 59, Craven 43, Roby 47, Lyons 50

Goals: Owens (5)

Barrow Raiders: Ritson, B Carter, Amean, Spedding, Cross, Dallimore, J Carter, Johnson, Puara, Walker, Smith, Morrow, Susino.

Interchange: Cresswell, D Toal, Aspinwall, Walne

Tries: Cross 64, Ritson 74

Goals: Dallimore (3)

Referee: Tom Grant

Attendance: 3,830

Raiders star man: Alec Susino