A series of unforced errors proved costly for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats as they slumped 24-16 at home to Widnes Vikings in Super League round one.
Wakefield matched the visitors for much of the game, but put themselves under pressure with mistakes at key times.
Wildcats trailed 18-4 at the break, despite scoring first. Stuart Howarth dummied over after just seven minutes, but Widnes hit back at the end of the first quarter when Setaimata Sa went over and Rhys Hanbury landed the first of his four goals.
It was an even contest of most of the half and Wakefield were close to going back in front after they kept the ball alive on the last tackle, but Anthony England knocked-on just short.
England was one of five Wakefield players making their competitive debut, alongside Ben Jones-Bishop, Liam Finn, Tinirau Arona and Anthony Tupou.
Just five of the team – Reece Lyne, Jacob Miller, Nick Scruton, Danny Kirmond and Scott Anderson – had played in last year’s Super League opener at Castleford.
Widnes extended their lead seven minutes before the break when Hanbury crossed from Lloyd White’s offload, then Sa added his second following a mix-up between Tom Johnstone and Jones-Bishop.
Wakefield survived a knock-on by Jones-Bishop from the kick-off and hit back through Lyne’s try, off a Joe Arundel pass and Liam Finn’s angled conversion.
But another error by the full-back put Wakefield under pressure and White nipped over from acting-half for a converted try which extended the visitors’ lead to 14 points with half an hour left.
Finn and Jones-Bishop combined to carve out a try for Michael Sio, which Finn converted, 13 minutes from time, but Wakefield had left themselves too much to do and never looked like pulling the game from the fire.