THERE WAS no blizzard at Mobile Rocket Stadium, but Wakefield Trinity buried hapless Widnes Vikings in an avalanche of points.
On a sweltering afternoon, Trinity ran in eight tries en route to collecting the win they had been denied when the game was snowed off three months ago. The 44-22 victory lifted Wakefield four points clear of ninth-placed Catalans Dragons with five games to go in the regular season and if they beat the French side at Belle Vue in two weeks’ time the Super-8s should be assured.
Widnes are three points adrift at the bottom of the table and look doomed to the middle-eights Qualifiers after this club-record 11th successive league defeat. They regained some pride after the break, but Wakefield had the game in the bag by half-time when they led 22-0.
Widnes were competitive early on, but back-to-back tries put Trinity in control. In the opening quarter Vikings stand-off Joe Mellor was held up over Trinity’s line and then full-back Oliver Ashall-Bott sliced through the defence, but crashed into a post and knocked-on.
After 18 minutes the deadlock was broken through a trademark try by Tom Johnstone, the winger’s pace and footwork bamboozling Widnes’ defence from well inside his own half.
Then Tinirau Arona skittled defenders aside on a powerful run before being stopped by Ashall-Bott and on the next play Ben Jones-Bishop scooted over after making a fine catch from Jacob Miller’s cross kick.
There was a big difference in size and experience up front and Trinity’s pack – with David Fifita, Pauli Pauli and Arona all enjoying themselves – made some easy metres despite the loss of Danny Kirmond, who hobbled off following a big hit on Alex Gerrard after just three minutes.
Widnes’ heads dropped after Jones-Bishop’s try and Trinity added another 12 points before the break. Miller and Max Jowitt created a try for Bill Tupou, then Ryan Hampshire’s kick was collected by Batchelor and his off-load sent Reece Lyne over.
Batchelor, who replaced Justin Horo (calf muscle injury) in the only change to the side which lost against Warrington Wolves in the previous game, converted all but the first touchdown.
Falling away after half-time has been a nasty habit afflicting Wakefield this season and they took their foot off the gas in the second period, but that was understandable in the conditions. Tupou’s second try – just three minutes after the resumption – ensured there would be no game-turning fightback, but the 44 second-half points were shared.
They visitors broke their duck through a diving finish by Stefan Marsh and Danny Walker barged over from close range, Tom Gilmore converting, after Batchelor, who finished with five goals, had grabbed a deserved try.
Arona touched down after Gil Dudson and Gilmore failed to deal with Miller’s kick behind their own line, but Ryan Ince went over for Widnes’ fourth try, goaled by Gilmore to complete their scoring.
They were within seconds of ‘winning’ the second half, but Lyne scored a fine try in the final moments and Hampshire added the extras.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt, Johnstone, Lyne, Tupou, Jones-Bishop, Miller, Hampshire, Hirst, Randell, England, Kirmond, Ashurst, Batchelor. Substitutes: Wood, Pauli, Arona, Fifita.
Widnes Vikings: Ashall-Bott, marsh, Runciman, Inu, Ince, Mellor, Gilmore, J Chapelhow, Heremaia, Dudson, Whitley, Hauraki, Gerrard. Substitutes: Leuluai. Wilde, Walker, T Chapelhow.
Referee: Liam Moore (Wigan).