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Widnes Vikings 20 Leeds Rhinos 23

Tom Briscoe scores the Rhinos opening try. Widnes Vikings v Leeds Rhinos.

Leeds Rhinos held off a brave fightback from Widnes Vikings to seal their spot in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Quarter Final. Leeds had led 23-4 at the start of the second half but had to hold on in the closing stages to book their place in the hat.

The opening exchanges were fairly cagey in front of a sparse crowd and it was Widnes who gave their loyal following the first real action to shout about when Lloyd White broke through on halfway. Full back Jack Walker was the last line of defence and made the crucial tackle however White got the ball away to his support and it needed two more try saving tackles from Golding, one after another in the same play to deny the Vikings the score. Golding was dispatched to the sin bin by referee Greg Dolan.

However it was Leeds who struck first despite their numerical disadvantage with a  piece of lethal finishing. The chance came after the kick on the last from Myler was blocked, Anthony Mullally was alert and picked up the spinning ball before offloading to Walker, who came charging onto the pass. Widnes regathered to stop his progress but he flung a pass wide to Tom Briscoe, who stretched up one handed to collect it and go over to score. Kallum Watkins narrowly missed the conversion but his side led after 17 minutes.

Just after Golding returned, the Rhinos increased their lead with a second try creating by a strong carry from the skipper. Stevie Ward then sliced through the Widnes defence before producing a deft pass back inside to Richie Myler, who raced over against his home town club. Watkins added the conversion to make it 10-0 after 24 minutes.

The home side were given a chance to hit back from the re-start when Adam Cuthbertson lost the ball in contact and they made the possession count when second row Matt Whitley finished off a flowing move. The conversion attempt was missed by Tom Gilmore.

Leeds managed to increase the lead two minutes before half time when Myler slotted over a drop goal to give his side an 11-4 advantage. It could have been even better for Leeds following a brilliant break by Mikolaj Oledzki from the restart, supported by Walker.

The Rhinos started the second half strongly and put themselves in a good possession with a couple of quick tries.  Ashton Golding, who started on the wing, touched down in the corner following a brilliant offload by Ash Handley.

Handley then looked certain to score himself soon after but a tap tackle on his ankles took him down. However it was not long before the Rhinos did cross for a fourth try when Myler went close before offloading to Stevie Ward to score a well deserved try. Watkins converted both tries to give his side a 23-4 lead after 48 minutes.

A Widnes fight back looked unlikely at that stage but when Leeds were penalised in possession near their own line, it seemed to galvanise the Vikings for a second effort. Whitley powered his way over for a second try before prop Alex Gerrard bumped off tacklers to get over after 55 minutes. Three minutes later Runciman was on the spot to go through after Walker has spilled a high ball he had raced through to try and catch. Gilmore converted two of the three tries and the home side were now a try away from the lead with twenty minutes to go.

That set up a tense finale as the rain began to fall more heavily however the Rhinos held their nerve to ensure they continue on the Road to Wembley.

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Widnes Vikings 20 Leeds Rhinos 23

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Widnes Vikings 20 Leeds Rhinos 23

Tom Briscoe scores the Rhinos opening try. Widnes Vikings v Leeds Rhinos.

Leeds Rhinos held off a brave fightback from Widnes Vikings to seal their spot in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Quarter Final. Leeds had led 23-4 at the start of the second half but had to hold on in the closing stages to book their place in the hat.

The opening exchanges were fairly cagey in front of a sparse crowd and it was Widnes who gave their loyal following the first real action to shout about when Lloyd White broke through on halfway. Full back Jack Walker was the last line of defence and made the crucial tackle however White got the ball away to his support and it needed two more try saving tackles from Golding, one after another in the same play to deny the Vikings the score. Golding was dispatched to the sin bin by referee Greg Dolan.

However it was Leeds who struck first despite their numerical disadvantage with a  piece of lethal finishing. The chance came after the kick on the last from Myler was blocked, Anthony Mullally was alert and picked up the spinning ball before offloading to Walker, who came charging onto the pass. Widnes regathered to stop his progress but he flung a pass wide to Tom Briscoe, who stretched up one handed to collect it and go over to score. Kallum Watkins narrowly missed the conversion but his side led after 17 minutes.

Just after Golding returned, the Rhinos increased their lead with a second try creating by a strong carry from the skipper. Stevie Ward then sliced through the Widnes defence before producing a deft pass back inside to Richie Myler, who raced over against his home town club. Watkins added the conversion to make it 10-0 after 24 minutes.

The home side were given a chance to hit back from the re-start when Adam Cuthbertson lost the ball in contact and they made the possession count when second row Matt Whitley finished off a flowing move. The conversion attempt was missed by Tom Gilmore.

Leeds managed to increase the lead two minutes before half time when Myler slotted over a drop goal to give his side an 11-4 advantage. It could have been even better for Leeds following a brilliant break by Mikolaj Oledzki from the restart, supported by Walker.

The Rhinos started the second half strongly and put themselves in a good possession with a couple of quick tries.  Ashton Golding, who started on the wing, touched down in the corner following a brilliant offload by Ash Handley.

Handley then looked certain to score himself soon after but a tap tackle on his ankles took him down. However it was not long before the Rhinos did cross for a fourth try when Myler went close before offloading to Stevie Ward to score a well deserved try. Watkins converted both tries to give his side a 23-4 lead after 48 minutes.

A Widnes fight back looked unlikely at that stage but when Leeds were penalised in possession near their own line, it seemed to galvanise the Vikings for a second effort. Whitley powered his way over for a second try before prop Alex Gerrard bumped off tacklers to get over after 55 minutes. Three minutes later Runciman was on the spot to go through after Walker has spilled a high ball he had raced through to try and catch. Gilmore converted two of the three tries and the home side were now a try away from the lead with twenty minutes to go.

That set up a tense finale as the rain began to fall more heavily however the Rhinos held their nerve to ensure they continue on the Road to Wembley.