WIDNES eased their relegation worries with a hard fought 28-22 win over Batley Bulldogs at Halton Stadium.

The key to the Vikings win was a dominant second half performance which should have produced greater reward on the scoreboard.

As it was, a game Batley side stuck in the contest before finally falling short.

Widnes head coach Kieron Purtill was forced into several changes to the side that lost at Featherstone the previous Sunday.

Danny Craven, Ryan Ince, Hep Cahill and Jordan Johnstone all picked up injuries at Post Office Road while fullback Jack Owens was suffering from mumps.

Lloyd Roby started at fullback with youngster Joe Edge debuting on the wing and another Academy product, Jacob Dugdale, getting a First Team chance from the bench.

The opening stages were evenly contested with Batley enjoying more field position but the Vikings looking sharper with the ball.

Widnes opened the scoring on fifteen minutes when crisp passing up the right edge saw Anthony Gelling charge over to make it 4-0.

A few more opportunities went begging for the Vikings and Batley hit back when second rower Jack Downs latched onto a Dominic Brambani grubber kick with the conversion giving the visitors a 6-4 advantage.

The Bulldogs doubled their tally when a loose Lloyd Roby pass was intercepted on his own line by Sam Smeaton who quickly fed winger Niall Walker who raced 90 metres to the posts for another six-pointer.

The Vikings kept themselves in the hunt with the last play of the first half when substitute Dan Norman forced his way under the sticks with Edge’s conversion making it 12-10 at the interval.

Widnes started the second half showing real purpose.

A Lloyd Roby break from the first play set the tone and a bit of Gelling magic freed impressive winger Jayden Hatton to score at the corner to regain the lead with Edge goalling superbly from wide out.

The Bulldogs were struggling to get out of their own half and it was no surprise when Widnes crossed again with Tom Gilmore’s short ball sending Chris Dean crashing in to make it 22-12.

Batley showed they weren’t willing to give up the ghost when they pulled six points back with almost their first attack of the second period as prop Tyler Dickinson bulldozed over on 65 minutes.

Five minutes later, the Vikings scored one of the most bizarre tries you’re ever likely to see.

A grubber into the Batley in-goal was fly-hacked across his own posts by winger Jonny Campbell where it was fielded by Joe Lyons who sent Jay Chapelhow striding over at the posts to make it 28-18.

The Bulldogs made the last few minutes interesting when Walker scored his second long range try after chasing a long kick but Widnes held on for two valuable league points.

Batley: Scott; Walker, Smeaton, Broadbent, Campbell; Jouffret, Brambani; Dickinson, Butterworth, Lillycrop, Downs, Brearley, Manning. Subs: Bretherton, Bienek, Ward, Wood.

Widnes: Roby; Hatton, Gelling, Brand, Edge; Gilmore, Lyons; Hansen, Ganson, J Chapelhow, Wilde, Dean, Walker. Subs: T Chapelhow, Dugdale, Leuluai, Norman.

Half-Time: 10-12

Referee: Mr G Hewer

Attendance: 3,742