Widnes Vikings fell to their second league defeat of the season on Sunday evening, as they were beaten 20-8 by Dewsbury Rams at the Tetley’s Stadium.
In difficult conditions both sides came up with a number of errors, but it was the home side who handled it better to come away with the two points.
Tim Sheens made five changes to the side that defeated Oldham with Jake Spedding and Jay Chapelhow making their return to action, offsetting the loss of Deon Cross, Matty Smith and Owen Farnworth who picked up minor injuries.
Shane Grady was unavailable due to work commitments while Joe Edge missed out, with Warrington Wolves trio Jake Mamo, Ellis Robson and Dec Patton coming in on dual registration.
The home side opened the scoring after nine minutes, as Matt Fleming came up with a great kick back inside which evaded Owens and was hacked into the in-goal by Michael Knowles, with the second rower pouncing to score.
On 18 minutes the Rams opted to take the two following back-to-back penalties, with Paul Sykes taking full advantage and extending the hosts’ lead to 8-0.
The Vikings responded four minutes later, as a penalty helped the away side advance into their opponents’ half, where a grubber from Danny Craven on the last caused chaos. The Dewsbury fullback was unable to collect the awkward kick, with Robson quickest to react by marking his return to the club with a try.
Just before the half hour mark the home side were in for their second of the evening, as Sam Day took advantage of poor marker play to score a close range effort from dummy half.
A short kick-off from Craven forced an error from the restart, but the Vikings couldn’t take advantage as the home defence stood firm despite defending back-to-back sets.
With the hooter about to sound, Widnes were handed a penalty and Owens opted to add the two points and cut the deficit to six points at the break.
Half-time: Dewsbury Rams 14-8 Widnes Vikings
The second half started the way the first half finished, with both side locked in an arm wrestle and unable to open each other up.
That was until the 52nd minute, as a last tackle kick from Sykes was batted back by Andy Gabriel and collected by Adam Ryder, who showed too much strength as he ducked under a tackle to score in the corner.
Craven’s restart went long and out of play on the full, but great defence from Spedding and Mamo on the right edge forced Fleming into touch and denied him a chance to score.
A great ball steal from Pat Moran deep in the Dewsbury half gave the visitors a great chance to hit back, before Patton forced a goal-line drop-out with his grubber into the in-goal. Clever play from Sykes ended the Vikings’ hopes of hitting back though, as he drilled the drop-out into touch to regain possession for his side.
Widnes then let another chance go begging, as Craven drew a penalty which led to Moran going agonisingly close under the sticks. From the next play the ball was put through hands, and as Dwyer looked to offload back inside Liam Finn pounced on the loose ball.
With 10 minutes left on the clock the Vikings found space on the right edge, as Spedding raced through a hole in the defence and found Mamo in support. The winger tried to round the fullback before his attempted pass inside drifted forward, as another opportunity passed Widnes by.
A Patton bomb was dropped into the path of Jack Johnson by Gabriel four minutes later, but as the away side looked to force an offload they came up with another frustrating error to end their hopes of a comeback.
Inside the final minute the Rams were handed a penalty in front of the sticks, with Sykes adding the two points and bringing the evening to an end.
Full-time: Dewsbury Rams 20-8 Widnes Vikings
Dewsbury Rams: Joe Martin, Andy Gabriel, Adam Ryder, Matt Fleming, Will Oakes, Paul Sykes, Liam Finn, Martyn Reilly, Sam Day, Luke Nelmes, Sonny Esslemont, Michael Knowles, Chris Annakin.
Interchanges: Frazer Morris, Liam Johnson, Jon Magrin, Connor Scott.
Tries: Knowles (9), Day (29), Ryder (52) Goals: Sykes 4/5
Widnes Vikings: Jack Owens, Jake Mamo, Jake Spedding, Lloyd Roby, Jack Johnson, Danny Craven, Joe Lyons, Ted Chapelhow, Logan Tomkins, Pat Moran, Sam Wilde, Ellis Robson, Kenny Baker.
Interchanges: Dec Patton, MacGraff Leuluai, Connor Dwyer, Jay Chapelhow.
Tries: Robson (22) Goals: Owens 2/2