Widnes Vikings booked their place in the second round of the Challenge Cup, after a 58-4 victory over West Wales Raiders at Stebonheath Park.
The Vikings were dealt an early blow, as Danny Craven was sent to the sin bin after a high tackle.
Almost straightaway, the Raiders took advantage, as Uraia Naulusala got in in the corner. High profile signing Gavin Henson was wide with his conversion attempt.
Things got even worse for Widnes, as Calum O’Neill had to be stretchered off the field with a nasty looking injury. Thankfully, the club confirmed after the game that he was awake and talking, and did not need to go to hospital.
Just a few minutes later, Widnes got themselves back into it as Shane Grady picked up a short pass from Matty Smith to go over. Jack Owens converted to edge the Vikings ahead.
West Wales then shot themselves in the foot, as Jamie Murphy was sent off after a dangerous tackle on Owen Buckley, meaning they would have to play three-quarters of the match with 12 men.
Just two minutes later, the Vikings edged further in front, as Ste Tyrer got his first try back in Widnes colours, as he stepped his way through the defence to score. Owens converted from the touchline to make it an eight-point lead.
Before the half-hour mark, Widnes grabbed their third try, as Jake Spedding broke clear, and set Deon Cross up to score. Owens was again successful with the conversion.
Owens then got himself in on the act a few minutes later, finishing a break from Adam Lawton, scoring a try to celebrate moving into 10th on the club’s all-time scoring chart. He then converted his own try.
There was time for one more Widnes try before the break, as Spedding finished off a break from Cross to add his name to the scoresheet. Owens was off-target with the conversion this time, meaning they had a 24-point lead at the break.
It took Widnes just two minutes into the second half to get the next try. Owens got his second try after being put through a gap by Lewis Else to score. Owens also added the conversion.
Not long after, Widnes had another man in the sin bin, as Will Tillkele ended up in the sin bin after being the third man in the tackle, and making dangerous contact with the knees.
That would not matter, as just before the hour, Tyrer got his second try after beating the defence to get through and score. Owens missed the conversion.
Six minutes later, Spedding got his second of the afternoon, after being put through by Smith. Owens was again off target with the conversion attempt.
There was time for one more try from the Vikings, as Tyrer completed his hat-trick after being put through by Else. Owens scored the conversion.
Widnes’ reward for getting the win is a second round tie at home to Whitehaven next week. As for West Wales, they now have a month to get themselves ready for the start of League One.
West Wales Raiders: Phil Cowburn, Uraia Naulsala, Jamie Murphy, Marcus Webb, Emosi Nadaubale, Gavin Henson, Rangi Chase, Tom Morgan, Daf Phillips, Morgan Allen, Mike Conner, Joe Burke, Morgan Evans.
Subs: Ash Bateman, Eparama Boginsoko, Sam Herron, Fraser Stroud.
Head Coach: Aaron Wood.
Widnes Vikings: Jack Owens, Deon Cross, Jake Spedding, Ste Tyrer, Owen Buckley, Danny Craven, Matty Smith, Owen Farnworth, Joe Lyons, Kenny Baker, Shane Grady, Adam Lawton, Calum O’Neill.
Subs: Lewis Else, Connor Dwyer, Will Tilleke, Josh Wilde.
Head Coach: Simon Finnigan.