Flying winger Denny Solomona bagged a hat-trick of tries as Castleford Tigers maintained their Super League top-four bid with their fifth straight win.
They avenged a 46-16 hammering at Widnes Vikings in April by beating them 34-20 in Sunday’s return fixture at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Solomona put them on their way with two tries in the first 14 minutes following excellent work by full-back Luke Dorn, making his comeback after missing 11 matches with a hamstring problem.
Jake Webster’s 25th minute try put the Tigers 18-0 up but he spent 10 minutes in the sin bin later in the half after questioning the decision to award a try to Widnes’ Jack Owens.
Chris Clarkson took advantage of Webster’s absence to cut the deficit to eight points but tries either side of half-time from Matt Cook and Justin Carney put Castleford back in control.
Tom Gilmore and Macgraff Leuluai went over to set up an intriguing final 10 minutes but Solomona’s third try confirmed a fourth league defeat in a row for Widnes, whose top-eight chances are fading.
Castleford suffered an early blow when Nathan Massey hobbled off but they hit the front as Dorn, on his return after three months out with hamstring problems, evaded Danny Craven with neat footwork before feeding Solomona for a simple finish.
Luke Gale converted from out wide and he had a hand in the Tigers’ next try. His high kick was dropped by Rhys Hanbury and from the resultant scrum Dorn, making his 250th appearance in the British game, again found Solomona, who stepped Owens and showed his athleticism to touch down in the corner.
Widnes were struggling with ball in hand in the absence of the influential Kevin Brown and then their defence let them down as Webster barged his way over from dummy half to put the Tigers in full control.
The Vikings needed to score next and they did just that to a chorus of boos when Owens beat Solomona in a one-on-one as Castleford pleaded for a penalty for obstruction in the build-up.