THERE will be no Wembley for Widnes Vikings this year.

Simon Finnigan’s men bowed out 24-18 in a thrilling contest against Featherstone Rovers in the 1895 Cup semi-final at the Millennium Stadium.

Vikings never led, but they clung onto the coat tails of Rovers and would not be thrown off until the final hooter ended their hopes of a levelling score.

The Black and Whites trailed 16-0 after 12 minutes but gritted their teeth and got back to within four points, as they did again in the second half after Fev got their noses further in front.

Even in the closing seconds Vikings had a chance to level matters but a threatening attack broke down when Matt Cook's pass went to ground.


But in the end the hosts were able to hang on to their narrow lead to book their first appearance in the competition’s final at Wembley on July 17.

Vikings paid the price for making too many errors early on.

Back-to-back penalties for Fev led to back-rower Brad Day crossing from close range after five minutes, with Craig Hall converting.

Then a penalty for a ball steal paved the way for Day to charge through a hole and touch down, though Hall’s conversion attempt went wide off a post.

A ‘six again’ and a restart of the tackle count after a Widnes hand had knocked the ball down led to prop Craig Kopczak barging over between the sticks, leaving Hall with an easy bonus two points with his boot.

It could have got worse for Vikings very quickly when, three minutes later, Josh Hardcastle intercepted and raced towards the try line only for Jake Spedding to chase back and force him into touch.

And when Vikings attempted to spirit up a response and Jayden Hatton went over in the corner it felt like it wasn’t going to be Vikings’ day when the score was ruled out for a forward pass.

Undeterred, four minutes later Adam Lawton produced a one-on-one steal which led to Ste Tyrer getting over the line and he added the extras.

Soon after, Vikings were over again, with Lawton this time being the scorer with a stretch of the arm from close to the line. Tyrer’s kicked made it 16-12 after 34 minutes.

Fev responded before the break though, with NU Brown breaking away and centre Frankie Halton finishing off with Hall turning four points into six.

The first try of the second half looked set to be crucial and 18 minutes past by until Lawton crossed for his second try and Tyrer’s third goal reduced the arrears to 22-18.

Hall banged over a penalty goal after 62 minutes and that proved to be the final score of the game.

Featherstone Rovers: Craig Hall, Gareth Gale, Frankie Halton, Thomas Minns, Josh Hardcastle, Nu Brown, Tom Holmes, Craig Kopczak, Connor Jones, James Lockwood, Junior Moors, Brad Day, Loui McConnell. Subs: Dean Parata, John Davies, Luke Cooper, Callum Field.

Tries: Day (2), Kopczak, Halton. Goals: Hall (4/5)

Widnes Vikings: Jack Owens, Jayden Hatton, Ste Tyrer, Jake Spedding, Deon Cross, Danny Craven, Joe Lyons, Kenny Baker, Brad O’Neill, Matt Cook, Shane Grady, Adam Lawton, Matty Smith. Subs: Paul Clough, Owen Farnworth, Lewis Else, Will Tilleke.

Tries: Tyrer, Lawton (2). Goals: Tyrer (3/3)