Date: Sunday 17th May
Venue: Select Security Stadium
Widnes Vikings and Batley Bulldogs will meet for the first time since the 2010 Northern Rail Cup Final, a day which most Vikings’ fans will have tried their hardest to forget.
Batley edged a 25-24 victory in their first major final since 1952 to lift the trophy at Bloomfield Road and they will be visiting the Blackpool stadium in the summer bash next week.
Wide man Shaun Ainscough will be a familiar face to the home fans having spent a spell with Widnes on loan during their time in the Championship.
The Vikings go into this game off the back of beating league leaders Leeds Rhinos at the Select Security Stadium as they ran in seven tries to run out 38-24 winners.
Batley battled hard for a 23-10 victory over Workington Town to keep their slim hopes of promotion alive as they sit in eighth, eight points off the top four.
This will be the hosts first appearance in this year’s competition due to the new structure however the Bulldogs have had to work for their place in the last 16.
They hammered amateur side Normanton Knights 78-6 in round four and defeated League 1 opposition in Swinton Lions in the previous round, securing their tie against Super League opposition with a 46-14 victory.
Widnes will have to approach the game with the right attitude if they are to avoid being on the wrong end of a cup upset on Sunday.
Batley will be out to prove that it isn’t just Leigh Centurions who can upset the odds and they will have nothing to lose when they go head-to-head with the Vikings.
Denis Betts’ men came within 80 minutes of Wembley last season and they will be looking to go one better this time out. If they are to do so they will have to get past John Kear’s Batley side and book a place in the last eight of the competition.
Prediction: Batley are a good side who will give a good account of themselves at the Select Security Stadium on Sunday. Their league form hasn’t been the best however they will give their all to upset the odds. If Widnes approach the game without any complacency they should see off the Bulldogs and book a place in the next round. Widnes by 38.
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