Super League: Widnes Vikings 28-20 Leeds Rhinos
|Betfred Super League|
|Widnes (12) 28|
|Tries: Ince 2, Thompson 2, Hanbury, Heremaia Goals: Bridge 2|
|Leeds (14) 20|
|Tries: Handley, Watkins, Ward, Cuthbertson Goals: Sutcliffe 2|
Widnes came from 14-12 down at half-time to stun high-flying Leeds.
Wingers Ryan Ince and Corey Thompson both scored twice as the Vikings ran in six tries, also crossing through full-back Rhys Hanbury and Aaron Heremaia.
Ash Handley, Kallum Watkins, Stevie Ward and Adam Cuthbertson all crossed for the visitors, while Liam Sutcliffe kicked two goals.
But they were outscored six tries to four, Chris Bridge landing only two kicks for Widnes, who stay bottom.
But, after a game in which the lead swapped three times in the final 10 minutes, it was a second try each for young local boy Ince and Thompson which cost the seven-times Super League winners a second defeat in three matches.
Leeds, who rested Danny McGuire, were without injured duo Brett Delaney (knee) and Ashton Golding (hamstring).
Although still a point behind 11th-placed Leigh, and five points adrift of the top eight, a third win of the season does offer Widnes a ray of hope that they can still drag themselves off the bottom of the table over the final six games of the campaign.
Having been ineligible to face parent club Castleford on Friday, on-loan playmaker Rangi Chase sparked the Widnes comeback from 4-4 down as he impressed on his home debut.
He delivered a lovely show-and-go and eventual pass for Ince to spectacularly score his first try, then it was Chase whose towering kick was batted back by Charly Runciman into the arms of Thompson for Widnes' third try.
Widnes head coach Denis Betts:
"I'm a happy man. It was one of those bizarre situations where I was feeling a bit aggrieved in some of the things we'd done or not done to close the game out - and then we score two tries.
"I had the 'here we go again' feeling. We just needed to win this tight one. Leeds are a pretty good side. They had no Danny Maguire but not many more (players missing) so this is a fantastic win for us.
"This victory has been coming. We have been pushing and pushing. We have played well in patches but never been far off.
"Ryan Ince is a great finisher. He just loves scoring tries. He just puts the blinkers on and goes for it. He's a product of the system the RFL told us to forget five years ago. We kept on with it and we're doing bringing local players through."
Leeds boss Brian McDermott:
"Widnes are fighting for their lives and that performance they put in is a reflection of that.
"I have to give Widnes massive credit. Denis Betts has asked for a reaction from his players and he got one.
"I didn't think energy was the issue out there. We didn't lack energy - it was a case of the dynamics of the game that let us down.
"There were some soft tries. Our last tackle plays were very poor. We gifted Widnes a hell of a lot of possession in good areas, and they made the most of it."
Widnes Vikings: Hanbury; Thompson, Bridge, Runciman, Ince; White, Chase; Dudson, Johnstone, Buchanan, Houston, Wilde, Cahill.
Replacements: Heremaia, Olbison, J Chapelhow, Manuokafoa.
Leeds: L Sutcliffe; Briscoe, Watkins, Handley, Hall; Moon, Burrow; Cuthbertson, Parcell, Singleton, Ward, Ferres, Jones-Buchanan.
Replacements: Garbutt, Mullally, Baldwinson, Walters.
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas (RFL).