Widnes Vikings 22-16 Featherstone Rovers

Widnes Vikings 22-16 Featherstone Rovers widnesvikings.co.uk

5th June 2019

Widnes Vikings booked their place in the quarter finals of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup, as Jayden Hatton scored a hat-trick of tries in a 22-16 victory over Featherstone Rovers.

The academy graduate was a stand-out performer in the win, which leaves Widnes just two wins away from an appearance at Wembley in August.

Kieron Purtill named the same 17 as he did for Friday’s victory over Sheffield Eagles, with the only change seeing Jordan Johnstone start on the bench and MacGraff Leuluai promoted to the starting line-up.

In contrast, the Rovers made eight changes from their last outing against Bradford Bulls, which included former Viking Wellington Albert coming in on dual-registration from Leeds Rhinos.

With only their second attacking set of the contest, the home side opened the scoring, as Chris Dean exploited a hole in the Rovers’ left edge before sending Jayden Hatton over in the corner.

Featherstone responded well but their set finishes let them down, and when Callum McLelland’s kick handed the Vikings a seven-tackle set on 14 minutes they took full advantage. A clever delayed pass from Joe Lyons drew the defender in to send Sam Wilde through the line, before backing up in support to round the fullback and score.

Four minutes later the score stood at 16-0, as Josh Ganson fired a cut-out ball to the right edge where Hatton showed great strength to muscle his way over at the flag for his second of the evening.

Rovers enjoyed a period of pressure which saw Daniel Maskill cross from dummy half, however he was denied for obstruction.

A number of errors from the hosts then led to Featherstone finally getting off the mark in the final minute of the half, with a try orchestrated by former Widnes forward Albert. His kick and chase on the last tackle forced an error from Jack Owens before the Papua New Guinea international’s offload sent Jack Ormondroyd over under the black dot.

There was only enough time for one tackle from the restart, as Widnes headed for the sheds with a 10-point lead.

Half-time: Widnes Vikings 16-6 Featherstone Rovers

The second half began as the first had ended, with Featherstone camped inside the Widnes half and piling the pressure on their defensive line.

This time out, the Vikings stood tall and repelled their attacks, before a Josh Hardcastle knock on gave the hosts a scrum 30 metres from the try line. From that set, Hatton did well to collect Owens’ pass at his feet and race in out wide for his hat-trick try.

Chris Dean went close in the same corner, but the centre was forced into touch before he could ground the ball, and when Brad Walker was penalised for holding down Featherstone advanced into their opponent’s half.

That led to Corey Johnson exposing some poor marker play to break the Widnes line, where he found Conor Carey in support to finish the move. Morgan Punchard’s slip while attempting the conversion meant Rovers trailed by 12 points.

The remaining 15 minutes were littered with errors, typifying the contest as a whole as Punchard crossed for a try with the last play of the game, and while it wasn’t the best of performances the Vikings got the job done and booked their place in the last eight of the competition.

Full-time: Widnes Vikings 22-16 Featherstone Rovers

Widnes Vikings: Jack Owens, Jayden Hatton, Chris Dean, Keanan Brand, Ryan Ince, Danny Craven, Joe Lyons, Hep Cahill, Josh Ganson, Jay Chapelhow, Harrison Hansen, Sam Wilde, MacGraff Leuluai.

Interchanges: Ted Chapelhow, Dan Norman, Brad Walker, Jordan Johnstone.

Tries: Hatton (2, 18, 50), Lyons (14)

Goals: Owens 3/4

Featherstone Rovers: Jack Render, James McDaniel, Thompson Teteh, Conor Carey, Josh Hardcastle, Callum McLelland, Morgan Punchard, Makahesi Makatoa, Daniel Maskill, John Davies, James Harrison, Dale Ferguson.

Interchanges: Corey Johnson, Jack Ormondroyd, Owen Trout, Wellington Albert.

Tries: Ormondroyd (39), Carey (65), Punchard (80)

Goals: Punchard 2/3

Widnes Vikings 22-16 Featherstone Rovers widnesvikings.co.uk