WIDNES first trip across the Pennines in 2020 ended in a 20-8 defeat at Dewsbury Rams.

The home side’s simple gameplan proved effective as they restricted Widnes to just one first half try.

Widnes boss Tim Sheens rang the changes with a trio of players on dual-registration from Warrington Wolves taking their place in the line-up in the shape of winger Jake Mamo, forward Ellis Robson and half-back Declan Patton operating from the bench.

In addition, Jake Spedding returned in the right centre and Jay Chapelhow back after injury.

A heavy pitch dictated the pace and style of game with both sides struggling for cohesion with ball in hand.

Left winger Jack Johnson went close for the Vikings but it was the home side that opened the scoring with the Widnes defence slow to react to a kick towards the posts and veteran second rower Michael Knowles pounced with Paul Sykes adding the extras.

Sykes added a penalty to make it 8-0 but Widnes hit back on 20 minutes.

Having established good field position, Danny Ctaven kicked towards the posts and the ball ricocheted into the hands of Robson who touched down for a six-pointer.

Just when it seemed the Vikings were getting to grips with the opposition they conceded a soft try from dummy-half as Sam Day crashed in from close range. Sykes’ goal established a 14-6 lead for the Rams but a simple penalty from Jack Owens pulled two points back right on half-time.

The second half brought more of the same in terms of the type of rugby played and Dewsbury gradually managed to get on top in the midfield battle.

On 52 minutes, a Liam Finn chip to the corner caused chaos in the Widnes defence and centre Adam Ryder was on hand to bulldoze his way over by the corner flag to make it 18-8.

Given the deteriorating condition, it had the look of a winning lead and so it proved.

The Vikings were struggling to make yards up the middle and try-scoring chances were few and far between.

Substitute forward Connor Dwyer forced his way over the line but lost the ball in contact.

Dewsbury’s game management was excellent with halves Finn and Sykes constantly pushing Widnes back with their kicking game.

A disappointing afternoon for Vikings fans came to an end when a last minute penalty from Sykes completed the scoring at 20-8.

Dewsbury: Martin; Gabriel, Ryder, Fleming, Oakes; Sykes, Finn; Reilly, Day, Nelmes, Esslemont, Knowles, Annakin. Subs: Morris Johnson, Magrin, Scott.

Widnes: Owens; Mamo, Spedding, Roby, Johnson; Craven, Lyons; T Chapelhow, Tomkins, Moran, Wilde, Robson, Baker. Subs: Patton, Dwyer, J Chapelhow, Leuluai.

Half-time: 14-8 Referee: Mr C Worsley