A shocking first half display cost Castleford Tigers dear as they crumbled to a surprise heavy 46-16 defeat against Widnes Vikings at the Select Security Stadium.
The Tigers were without seven injured first teamers with Luke Gale joining the players already declared on the sidelines with a slight hamstring injury, but they did not expect to be outplayed by opponents starting the day second from bottom in Super League.
After their exertions in recent weeks when they had won four out of five games, Castleford looked tired and had no real answer to the Vikings’ attacking rugby in the first half.
Patrick Ah Van scored first for Widnes after just five minutes with Jack Owens landing the first of seven conversions. But Cas replied to make it 6-6 when Ben Roberts produced a neat sidestep on his way over the line for a try converted by Liam Finn.
The rest of the first half belonged to the hosts, though, with Kevin Brown sending full-back Rhys Hanbury over then Hanbury turning provider with a long pass to send Owens charging over in the corner.
Stefan Marsh was next to go over as the Tigers defence was found wanting again and Ah Van’s second made it 28-6 at half-time.
Cas did produce more fight after the break, although it was Widnes who struck first as Brown touched down.
At last the travelling fans had something to cheer when Adam Milner’s great break was finished off by Oliver Holmes for a try.
But back came the hosts with Cameron Phelps scoring from Hanbury’s kick before Michael Shenton burst onto a Roberts pass to score the Tigers’ third try.
Widnes had the final word when the impressive Hanbury went over for their eighth try to complete their biggest-ever league win over Castleford.
Scorers - Widnes: Tries Ah Van 2, Hanbury 2, Owens, Marsh, Brown, Phelps. Goals Owens 7. Castleford: Tries Roberts, Holmes, Shenton. Goals Roberts, Finn.
Widnes Vikings: Hanbury; Owens, Marsh, Phelps, Ah Van; Brown, Gilmore; O’Carroll, White, Dudson, Dean, Galea, Leuluai. Subs: Heremaia, Manuokafoa, Gerrard, Isa.
Castleford Tigers: Tansey; Clare, Shenton, Channing, Gibson; Roberts, Finn; Lynch, Moore, Wheeldon, Holmes, Millington, Massey. Subs: Milner, Jewitt, Boyle, Crossley.
Referee: James Child