Widnes rise to tenth with gutsy win over Batley as Sheffield return to the top five

Widnes’ 28-22 victory against Batley was their eleventh of the season, but they were pushed all the way by a fearsome Bulldogs outfit as Sheffield claim a 46-24 win against Rochdale.

Anthony Gelling opened the scoring for the Vikings before Jonny Campbell had a try disallowed for Batley.

The Bulldogs were not to be denied, however, as Jack Downs touched down a Louis Jouffret kick through. The latter converted to send Batley into the lead at 6-4.

This lead was extended to eight points when Dom Brambani intercepted a Widnes pass and fed Niall Walker who had the legs to race away, improved by Jouffret.

Just before half-time, substitute Dan Norman replied for Widnes with Joe Edge converting. Down 10-12 at the break, the home side hit first in the second-half through Jayden Hatton and then extended their lead to 22-12 when Chris Dean forced his way over just shy of the hour mark.

But the Bulldogs refused to lie down as Tyler Dickinson brought Batley back to within four points. However, a Jay Chapelhow try and an Edge conversion put Widnes 28-18 up.

A late Batley try through Walker wasn’t enough as the Vikings registered their eleventh win of the season.

Meanwhile, Sheffield came from behind to thrash Rochdale at home. The Hornets had taken the lead through Daniel Abram before Sheffield’s James Meadows was sin-binned for a professional foul.

Ryan Millar hit back for the Eagles – as Pat Walker converted – before an Oliver Davies special put the Eagles in front 10-6.

A Callum Marriott effort and an Abram conversion restored Rochdale’s lead before a Meadows try just before the hooter gave the hosts a 16-12 lead at half-time.

It soon became a try-fest as Anthony Thackeray and Ryan Millar scored just after the resumption as Walker’s boot sent Sheffield 28-12 up.

Though the Hornets hit back through Brandon Wood a minute after Millar’s second, Meadows had his second just after the hour mark with Josh Guzdek stepping up to add the conversion, making it 34-18.

Pat Moran claimed his third try in two games five minutes from the end before Marriott got a double for Rochdale on 78 minutes. And, to put an end to the thrilling spectacle, Millar claimed his hat-trick on the hooter. Guzdek ended with three conversions from three as Sheffield racked up 46 points.

A full report and photos from tonight’s games will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express, which will be available in newsagents and online from 9.30pm on Sunday evening.