Rugby League - Betts revels in toppling Saints

Denis Betts hailed Widnes' historic 35-28 win at St Helens as their best since returning to Super League.

PA Sport
Rugby League - Betts revels in toppling Saints

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Denis Betts was keen to praise Widnes after their fine win over St Helens

The Vikings, who suffered a 62-0 defeat in the reverse fixture last season, ended a 16-match losing run against Saints, stretching back to 1994, to stun Nathan Brown's side with a six-try show. Jack Owens scored two tries and four goals for Widnes, who conceded an early touchdown to rookie Luke Thompson but rallied to lead 28-12 at half-time.

While Saints threatened a comeback in the second half, Joe Mellor's 56th-minute try and a late drop goal from Danny Craven ensured there was no way back for the hosts. Betts said: "It feels like our best performance back in Super League."

He added: "We got a real good thumping here last year and it's never easy to win at Saints. We showed plenty of desire but it was disappointing to concede two late tries, we wanted to keep them below 20 points."

Betts paid special tribute to Owens as well as skipper Jon Clarke.

"Jack was fantastic at full-back and has really matured over the last few weeks," Betts added. "It's a big stage here and he did a lot of work and that's why I took him off to give Danny Craven a run.

"When Rhys Hanbury is fit, we will have some real exciting ball runners at the back who can ignite our side. Jon Clarke was outstanding and doesn't get the plaudits he deserves. He's a model professional and playing as well as ever."

Saints trailed 34-18 until snatching late tries from Tony Puletua and Alex Walmsley, with the latter converted by Tommy Makinson. It was too little, too late, however, and coach Brown admits his side are stuck in a rut following their fifth successive defeat and hinted they are struggling with injuries to key players.

He said: "We are low in confidence at the moment. It was disappointing to see our response after having a try disallowed when we led 12-6. We defended well for a long time but our resolve was not quite good enough to keep us in the contest. Kevin Brown came up with some nice kicks for tries but we had the best forward on the pitch in Luke Thompson.

"Some of our younger players are outshining more experienced ones and the big picture for the club looks good. We are missing our injured players and being without our number one and nine (Jonny Lomax and James Roby) is very important."

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