Widnes Vikings cruise into the fifth round of the Coral Challenge Cup with comprehensive 52-12 victory over Oldham RLFC.
Tim Sheens’ side hit five without reply to take a comfortable 30-point lead within the half-hour. Oldham hit back in a good spell as the first-half came to an end but the free-scoring Vikings added another three tries after the interval to book their spot in the next round.
Despite one eye on the league, Sheens opted to name a relatively full-strength side against the third-tier Oldham. Danny Craven and Kenny Baker coming in, with Jake Spedding and dual-reg players Dec Patton and Leilani Latu the only players dropping out from last week’s defeat to London.
And it didn’t take the home side long to assert dominance. After persistent pressure on the Oldham try-line, the ball came loose on the right and Lloyd Roby found himself in the right place at the right time to spin through the Oldham defence and touch down.
Then, moments later, the centre turned provider to set away Deon Cross down the right, who raced away from the supporting visitors’ defence to go over.
It was 100 games up for Jack Owens, who struck the four points from wide to give the Vikings a much-deserved early advantage.
The League One side were looking vulnerable from the off and Widnes were in no mood to take prisoners. With the game not even 15 minutes old, the Vikings were already 24 points ahead as Sam Wilde latched onto the short ball to bulldoze his way over before Danny Craven slipped through unchallenged to touch down.
With Oldham pegged back, Widnes pressed and went 30 points ahead through an unlikely scorer. After he was denied by a last-gasp challenge moments later, loose-forward Kenny Baker made no mistake the second time as he shrugged off the persistent challenge to score.
Despite having their backs to the wall for the majority of the first-half, the League One side started an unlikely comeback when fullback Dan Abram went over.
After resolute defending deep in their own half, Widnes were undone with a reverse pass to the right that found Abram, who danced his way through five minutes before the interval.
A training ground move in the dying embers of the opening period nearly set Owens away, as the fullback came agonisingly close to celebrating a century of Widnes appearances with a try.
It was the visitors who, on balance, ended the first period the stronger, however, it was the hosts who further added to their lead at the start of the second.
Craven’s short kick-off found Cross, the ball was then worked out to the left, where Wilde was able to find a hole and re-establish Widnes’ 30-point lead.
Oldham were pressing to find a route back in the contest, which, incidentally, left them bare in defence and the Vikings accepted the invitation.
Jack Johnson switched on the afterburners to leave the visitors’ defence in his wake to touch down before exceptional link-up play in the centre between Baker and Craven sent Joe Edge over for his first try in Widnes colours.
After a busy 52-minute spell, Widnes looked reserved in attack but solid in defence as they looked to preserve their 42-point lead.
Johnson had another great opportunity to double his account after the winger raced down the line, but the Oldham defence stayed strong. However, the winger was not to be denied moments later when the former-Warrington player touched down in the corner to bring up 52 for the afternoon.
Oldham did claw one back through Danny Langtree, but that looked to be merely a consolation as Widnes progress.