Widnes Vikings made it four home victories in a row as they battled past Batley Bulldogs, running out 28-22 winners on Friday evening.
Joe Edge and Jacob Dugdale made the step up from the club’s academy to make their first team debuts, with both youngsters impressing as the Vikings picked up a vital two points.
Kieron Purtill made five changes due to injury and illness, as Edge and Dugdale came in for their debuts alongside Lloyd Roby, Tom Gilmore and Harrison Hansen.
The Vikings opened the scoring after 15 minutes, as Gilmore found Roby out the back, as he found a gap in the defence before sending Anthony Gelling over in support.
Batley responded after 29 minutes, as Louis Jouffret’s grubber wasn’t dealt with and Jack Downs collected a simple try, edging the visitors ahead.
Four minutes from the break, the Bulldogs went back-to-back as Dominic Brambani picked off a delayed pass from Roby before releasing Niall Walker, who raced 80 metres to score.
With the last play of the half, Widnes capitalised on a high tackle on Roby as Dan Norman proved too strong from close range, sending the hosts into the break just two points behind.
Three minutes into the second half the Vikings hit the front, as Gelling ran from dummy half and offloaded to Jayden Hatton, who crossed for his seventh try in his last four outings at the Halton Stadium.
Nine minutes later the hosts were in again, as Joe Lyons’ bomb was spilled by the Bulldogs, leading to Gilmore sending Chris Dean over with a flat pass at the line.
On 66 minutes Batley replied, as Tyler Dickinson charged over from 10 metre out to give the visitors some hope.
With 10 minutes left on the clock, Dugdale grubbered into the in-goal where Jonny Campbell booted the ball across the field, landing in the arms of Lyons who passed inside to Jay Chapelhow for the front rower to race in.
Batley set up a tense finish as Brambani kicked straight from a scrum two minutes from time, with Walker chasing it down and pouncing inside the in-goal to collect his second of the evening.
It proved too little too late though, as Widnes managed to hang on and collect a vital two points.