Two sides with a chance of guaranteeing themselves a place in Super League in 2018 met in Perpignan as the Dragons faced the Vikings.
To the winners a guaranteed return to Super League; for the losers the Million Pound Game and an appointment with the Leigh Centurions next Saturday afternoon for that final place in the top flight.
The tension was palpable as the two sides entered a cauldron-like Stade Gilbert Brutus.
It was a rip-snorting start to the game with both sides having chances to take the lead. On seven minutes Widnes held on too long in the tackle and after referee Bentham awarded the penalty, Luke Walsh kicked the goal.
On twenty-two Widnes kicked a penalty of their own when the Dragons obstructed a kick through. Tom Gilmore kicked the two to level the scores. Four minutes later and a great break from Danny Craven got Widnes close and on the last tackle the Dragons conceded a penalty under the sticks which Gilmore slotted over for 4-2.
Just after the half hour Widnes saw Chris Houston sin-binned for a high shot on Thibaut Margalet and a minute later the Dragons engineered good field position before having the ball stripped allowing Walsh to kick his second penalty to level the scores at the interval.
On a fraught first half no nerves had been settled.
The first opportunity if the second half came on fifty three when Navarette stripped the ball in a two man tackle. Widnes moved the ball downfield and then wide left for Corey Thompson to go over in the corner. Gilmore pulled his conversion attempt wide.
On sixty-one Stefan Marsh extended the lead to 12-4 after the Vikings had kept the ball alive well and flung it out to the right wing. The final ball looked suspiciously forwards but after confirming the point of grounding with the video referee, Bentham pointed to the spot. Gilmore hit the far upright with his conversion attempt but his side had a 12-4 lead and one foot in Super League.
With ten minutes remaining the Dragons got a lifeline when Julian Bousquet crashed over from five metres to score under the sticks. Walsh kicked the goal to narrow the arrears to 12-10 and set up the most tense of finishes.
On seventy-eight Krisnan Inu was taken out chasing his own chip but rather than kick the penalty for a draw which would see them as the home side in the Million Pound Game, they went for the win. Moving the ball under the sticks they got a second kickable penalty but again opted to go for the four and when Luke Walsh lost the ball in the tackle the game was over and Widnes had secured their future and condemned the Dragons to another week of agony.
This was the Vikings first win in the south of France and they did it to secure their Super League survival. It was a Herculean effort in a closely fought game which either side could have won up until the final hooter. There will be massive celebrations in Widnes as their season finished on a high.
The Dragons will now have to travel to the Leigh Sports Village next Saturday afternoon knowing that they must win to send Leigh Centurions back into the Championship, or face that same fate themselves.
Dragons: Tierney, Duport, Ainu, Wiliame, Thornley, Walsh (3G), Myler, Moa, Aiton, Bousquet (T), Anderson, Horo, Garcia. Subs: Baitieri, Albert, Margaret, Navarette.
Vikings: Craven, Thompson (T), Runciman, Marsh (T), Ince, Mellor, Gilmore (2G), Dudson, Heremaia, Buckman, Whitley, Houston (SB), Burke. Subs: Gerrard, Cahill, Walker, Olbison.
Referee: Phil Bentham.