A HAT-TRICK of tries for winger Jayden Hatton was the highlight as Widnes progressed into the quarter-finals of the 1895 Cup with a 22-16 over Featherstone Rovers at Halton Stadium.

In truth, It was a disjointed performance by the Vikings and one they will have to improve on if they want to make it to Wembley.

Widnes boss Kieron Purtill went with the same seventeen that put Sheffield Eagles to the sword five days earlier.

There was one minor change to the starting line-up with Macgraff Leuluai coming in at loose forward and Jordan Johnstone dropping to the bench.

Featherstone featured former Widnes forward Wellington Albert on dual-registration from his new club Leeds Rhinos.

Widnes completely bossed the opening stages and scored after just two minutes when smart hands to the right saw centre Chris Dean put winger Jayden Hatton over for the first try.

Widnes increased their lead to 10-0 when inter-passing between Sam Wilde and Joe Lyons saw the latter race over just to the left of the the posts with Jack Owens converting.

When Hatton went over for his second try from Josh Ganson’s long pass, it looked like the Vikings were ready to run away with the game.

However, a series of errors gave Rovers possession and confidence.

After repelling numerous sets on their own line, the Vikings defence eventually crumbled just before half-time when Albert’s late offload allowed Jack Ormondroyd to cross under the posts to make it 16-6 at the interval.

The start of the second half was nip and tuck but it was the Vikings who increased their lead on 51 minutes when Hatton scored his hat-trick try after doing well to pick up Owens’ bouncing pass. Owens goaled superbly from wide out to make it 22-6.

Still Rovers refused to give up the ghost and they pulled a try back through hard-running centre Josh Hardcastle to get within two converted scores.

Rovers had their chances in the final quarter of the game and there was the distinct impression Widnes were hanging on.

When Featherstone did finally cross again it was too late to make a difference but Morgan Punchard’s converted try made the scoreline more respectable at 22-16.

Widnes: Owens; Ince, Dean, Brand; Hatton; Craven, Lyons; Cahill, Ganson, J Chapelhow, Wilde, Hansen, Leuluai. Subs: T Chapelhow, Walker, Norman, Johnstone.

Featherstone: Render; McDaniel, Teteh, Carey, Hardcastle; McLelland, Punchard; Makatoa, Maskill, Cooper, Davies, Harrison, Ferguson. Subs: Johnson, Ormondroyd, Trout, Albert.

Half-Time: 16-6

Referee: Mr G Dolan

Attendance: 1,515