Batley Bulldogs slipped to a third straight defeat in the Betfred Championship last Friday night as Widnes Vikings boosted their survival hopes with a 28-22 victory at Halton Stadium.
Jack Broadbent was handed a start having signed on loan from Leeds Rhinos, while Dane Manning made the 250th appearance of his career, 97 of which have come in Batley colours.
Coach Matt Diskin was looking for a response following the heavy defeat to Sheffield Eagles in their last outing and Batley made a bright start on the back of Dominic Brambani’s 40-20 kick.
However, it was Widnes who struck the first blow with a 15th minute try when Tom Gilmore sent Lloyd Roby through a gap and he in turn put Anthony Gelling over for an unconverted score.
Batley responded well and edged ahead after 29 minutes.
Louis Jouffret’s dangerous grubber kick wasn’t dealt with and Jack Downs scooped up the ball to score a simple try, which Jouffret converted.
Things improved further for the Bulldogs soon after as Brambani was alert to intercept a pass and sent Niall Walker racing away on an 80 metre run to the line, with Jouffret again converting.
Batley were hoping to take an eight point lead into the break but a high tackle on Roby gifted Widnes possession and Dan Norman forced his way over from close range, with Joe Edge tagging on the goal.
The Vikings turned the game three minutes after the re-start as Anthony Gelling broke and put Jayden Hatton over for the try, with Edge converting.
Widnes were on a roll and added a third try in the space of 10 minutes either side of the break as Batley dropped a high kick from Joe Lyons and Gilmore collected before sending Chris Dean over for a try which Edge goaled.
Batley gave themselves hope when a neat move ended with Tyler Dickinson charging over from 10 metres out and Jouffret’s conversion reduced the deficit to 22-18.
Widnes struck a decisive blow to those Bulldogs hopes of getting something from the game with a fortuitous try 10 minutes from full-time.
Johnny Campbell attempted to boot a kick to the in-goal area to safety but it only landed in the arms of Lyons, who produced an inside pass to send Jay Chapelhow over for a decisive try. Edge converted.
Niall Walker latched onto Brambani’s kick to grab his second try late on but it wasn’t enough to prevent defeat.