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Bulls charge to emphatic victory
Widnes Vikings slipped closer to relegation after suffering their biggest-ever defeat, 74-24, against Bradford at Odsal and their seventh in their last eight games.
The Vikings had a home win against the Bulls in February, and gained a 25-25 draw at Odsal in June, but they never looked like repeating that sort of result as the Bulls ran in 13 tries, many of them orchestrated by scrum-half Paul Deacon who crowned an outstanding performance by kicking 11 goals.
Bradford were off to a whirlwind start with Great Britain prop Stuart Fielden scoring in the first minute after Widnes had been forced to drop out from Deacon?s kick-off.
It set the tempo for an impressive attacking display by the Bulls in which winger Lesley Vainikolo also starred with two tries, after his return from an eight-match injury absence.
A penalty goal by Jules O?Neill briefly halted the home progress but skipper Jamie Peacock took an inside pass from Deacon to cross after 12 minutes and then Vainikolo burst into action.
A 60 metre charge down the left flank launched another strong home raid and, when Widnes were penalised for offside, the Wolves moved the ball smartly to the other flank where second rower Paul Johnson sent in full-back Michael Withers and Deacon added the goal to make it 18-2 after 16 minutes.
Two minutes later Vainikolo was scoring himself, brushing aside two defenders from close range, and although Deacon had his first miss at goal the Bulls were well in charge at 22-2.
Loose forward Simon Finnigan gave Widnes some encouragement by touching down from a neat kick to the line by Australian scrum-half Keiran Kerr, who was on debut along with compatriot full-back Brad Watts.
It was, however, a mere interruption to the Bulls? procession.
Centre Shontayne Hape scored the Bulls? fifth try from close range before Vainikolo went over for his second after an impressive long-range build-up featuring Robbie Paul, Rob Parker and Deacon.
Iestyn Harris then rounded off another sweeping raid and Deacon added his sixth goal from seven attempts. Widnes had more encouragement just before half-time however when centre Adam Hughes scored after good work by prop Julian O?Neill and hooker Mark Smith.
It took Bradford just nine minutes to add to their 40-12 interval lead, with Leon Pryce marking his arrival as substitute in place of Vainikolo to round off another Deacon-inspired attack.
Withers then dummied twice from close range to put up the half-century with his second try and was quickly followed to the line by substitute prop Andy Lynch and Hape, making it 62-12 after an hour.
Hooker Smith gained reward for his tireless performance when he shocked the Bulls by strolling through a huge gap for the third Widnes try after 62 minutes, but the Bulls were eager for more points.
Winger Stuart Reardon became the ninth different try scorer, crossing twice in three minutes, but Widnes had the last say with Smith, easily their outstanding player, laying on a try for winger Gray Viane and substitute Stephen Myler added his second goal.
Bradford: Withers, Reardon, B. Harris, Hape, Vainikolo, I. Harris, Deacon, Peacock, Henderson, Fielden, Johnson, Meyers,Radford. Replacements: L. Pryce, Paul, Lynch, Parker.
Widnes: Watts, Emelio, Whittle, Hughes, Viane, J. O?Neill, Kerr, O?Connor, Smith, J. O?Neill, Cassidy, Frame, Finnigan. Replacements: Whitaker, Myler, Mills, Stankevitch.
Bradford: (40) 74. Tries: Fielden, Peacock, Withers 2, Vainikolo 2, Hape 2, I. Harris, L. Pryce, Lynch, Reardon 2. Goals: Deacon 11.
Widnes: (12) 24. Tries: Finnigan, Hughes, Smith, Viane. Goals: J. O?Neill 2, Myler 2.
Referee: Glen Black (New Zealand)
Thanks to www.superleague for the above review