A LAST-gasp, after-the-hooter try from Tim Hartley snatched a dramatic 28-23 win for Widnes Vikings over Batley Bulldogs at Mount Pleasant.

In one of the most remarkable finishes imaginable, Widnes effectively hit the front for the first time in the match AFTER the 80 minutes was up.

It was the culmination of a truly manic last ten minutes which could have seen the match go either way.

Second half tries to Scott Yates, Ian Hardman and Lee Paterson had seen Widnes claw their way back to level the scores at 22-all having gone in at the break trailing 18-6.

Scrum-half John Duffy's drop-goal attempt seemed to be going over but was caught in the wind and rebounded off an upright.

At the other end, following a spate of handling errors by the Vikings which conceded vital field position, Batley stand-off Francis Maloney managed to slot over a successful one-pointer which looked to have won the game for the Bulldogs at 23-22.

With their last throw of the dice Wiidnes worked their way downfield but it seemed the clock would be against them.

When the hooter sounded the Vikings kept the ball alive and worked it out to their left-hand side where Paterson took possession.

He coolly sucked in the home defence before delivering a perfectly timed short ball which sent Hartley sliding over for the winning score.

It produced scenes of joy for Vikings fans and despair for their counterparts from Batley.

The truth of the matter is that Widnes had enough chances to win several games.

However, despite having long spells of pressure in the Buldogs '20' they struggled to turn it into points.

Batley started the game well and took an 8-0 lead throuh a Luke Stenchion try and two goals from Maloney.

The Vikings hit back when Yates profited from a Shane Grady offload to dart over for a six-pointer but fine interpassing saw winger Jamie Stokes increase the lead for the Yorkshire side.

With the elements against them, Widnes may have settled for a 12-6 half-time deficit but conceded a soft try to Batley second row Tim Spears just before the interval.

Yates's second try from a Duffy kick gave Widnes the perfect start to the second period but they then conceded almost immediately to Batley centre Kevin King.

Hardman's score came from good work by Duffy and Paterson did well to crash through a double-tackle on the opposition line.

But nothing could prepare the crowd for the game's remarkable finale.

Having started the Co-Operative National League One season with a nine-point penalty to make up, it was vital the Vikings got off to a winning start.

Hartley's heroics were probably just what the doctor ordered.

Widnes: Yates (2t); Gaskell, Hardman (1t), Grady, Dodd; Hartley (1t, 4g), Duffy; Morrison, Smith, Gannon, Hill, Noone, Beswick. Subs: Paterson (1t), Gallagher, Donoghue, Draper.