A FIRST half hat-trick from Jack Owens was to no avail as Widnes went down to a shock 25-24 home defeat to Dewsbury Rams.

To rub salt into the wound, it was ex-Vikings scrum-half Liam Finn who slotted the winning drop-goal two minutes from time.

Widnes boss Kieron Purtill was able to bring back stand-off Danny Craven along with experienced forward Harrison Hansen.

Lloyd Roby moved into the centres with youngsters Jaydon Hatton and Ben Davies dropping out from the previous week’s defeat at York.

Widnes found yards easy to come by in the early exchanges and it perhaps gave them a false sense of security. Sloppiness came into the Vikings game with errors, penalties and weak tackling inviting trouble.

And trouble was what they got when centre Daniel Igbendion raced 70 metres up centre field before being tackled just short leading to Craven being sin-binned for lying on in the tackle. Fullback Luke Hooley raced over from the next set.

Things got worse on sixteen minutes when an Owens kick was blocked by Dewsbury and Igbendion picked up the loose ball and raced 60 metres to the posts. Liam Finn’s goal made it 10-0.

The Vikings pulled six points back when Owens dummied through from 20 metres from a scrum move and added the goal himself.

Widnes were caught cold on last tackle by a break from prop Tom Garratt and fine support play ended with winger Andrew Gabriel going over on the left to give his side a 14-6 lead.

Widnes finally managed to get their act together in the last ten minutes of the first period.

Owens exploited a simple overlap to crash over for his second six-pointer and with the last play of the half followed up a towering Craven bomb to touch down under the sticks sending Widnes into the dressing rooms with an 18-14 lead they scarcely deserved.

There may well have been an expectation that the Vikings wouldn’t play as badly after the break but again they gave up cheap possession with a series of mistakes.

Sheer weight of pressure eventually saw Gabriel cross for his second try for Dewsbury to put them back on level terms.

On 66 minutes, when Craven dummied and forced his way over from close range and Owens converted to make it 24-18, it looked like Widnes would go on and take the spoils.

However, Dewsbury had their own agenda and having yet again been invited into Widnes territory, levelled things up when Craven failed to clear a grubber kick in his own in-goal area allowing Finn to pounce for a self-converted score making it 24-24.

The latter stages became a game of hunt the drop-goal and Finn landed the killer blow after smartly switching on to his left foot to slot the ball over from 20 metres.

In a sense it was almost fitting that the Vikings' final throw of the dice was scuppered by yet another handling error.

Widnes: Owens; Ince, Roby, Brand, Freeman; Craven, Lyons; Cahill, Johnstone, T Chapelhow, Wilde, Hansen, Leuluai. Subs: J Chapelhow, Speakman, Farnworth, Walker.

Dewsbury: Holley; Morton, Igbinedion, Ryder, Gabriel; Finn, Brown; Field, Day, Garratt, Robson, Knowles, Trout. Subs: Ward, Mackay, Richardson, Hallas.

Half-Time: 18-14 Referee: M Rossleigh Attendance: 3,851