Widnes Vikings suffered a heartbreaking 23-22 defeat at Dewsbury Rams in Round 17 of the Betfred Championship, despite a strong second-half showing.
Daniel Hill came into the 17 to replace Jayden Hatton, with the latter recovering from a head knock. Oliver Brookes started in his place.
The hosts forged ahead early on as their half-back pairing combined to allow Matty Fleming space to put down out wide.
Dewsbury scored again 15 minutes into the contest when Jimmy Beckett got through after Tom Garratt made up big yards for the home side.
The Vikings managed to pull one back when Ste Tyrer found space after a six-again call which allowed a full set of six on the Dewsbury line.
Featherstone Rovers loanee Dale Ferguson got over the line to stretch the hosts’ lead with five minutes to go until the break, before Riley Dean added a drop goal on the stroke of half-time to bring the scores to 19-6 at the break.
Another six-again call allowed Widnes to break through again in the second half as Deon Cross found space on the wing after the Vikings spread the ball from left to right.
Riley Dean added a couple of penalty goals just short of the hour mark as the Vikings battled pressure from the hosts.
Widnes soaked up the pressure before starting some of their own as they spread the ball the other way for Joe Edge to score with 62 minutes gone after the Vikings had won a penalty of their own 10 out from the line.
Kenny Baker added another five minutes later after cutting through the Rams defence, and Owens’ conversion reduced the deficit to just a point.
The Vikings grabbed hold of the game in the final 15 minutes and had several chances to forge in front, but Dewsbury ultimately stood firm and took the two points.
Dewsbury Rams: Joe Martin, Andy Gabriel, Davey Dixon, Matty Fleming, Lewis Carr, Alex Smith, Riley Dean, Robson Stevens, Reiss Butterworth, Jimmy Beckett, Sonny Esslemont, Tom Garratt, Chris Annakin. Interchanges: Dom Speakman, Jordan Schofield, Dale Ferguson, James Thornton. Tries: Matty Fleming, Jimmy Beckett, Dale Ferguson. Goals: Riley Dean (3/3). Drop goal: Riley Dean. Penalty goals: Riley Dean (2/2).
Widnes Vikings: Jack Owens, Deon Cross, Jake Spedding, Ste Tyrer, Oliver Brookes, Danny Craven, Joe Lyons, Will Tilleke, Lewis Hulme, Owen Farnworth, Shane Grady, Joe Edge, Matty Smith. Interchanges: Kenny Baker, Daniel Hill, Adam Lawton, Aiden Roden. Tries: Ste Tyrer, Deon Cross, Joe Edge, Kenny Baker. Goals: Jack Owens (3/4).