Saturday, January 12, 1907 THWARTED in the opening minutes at Wigan, Widnes soon gave their travelling support in the 5,000 crowd what turned out to be false hope when they opened the scoring with a try from Jack Lambert, converted by Stan Davies.
Thereafter it became a Wigan onslaught as they moved to a 21-5 advantage at half-time before adding a further 34 points in the second half with Widnes’ sole contribution being a try from G Argent.
As the Runcorn & Widnes Guardian commented: “Play was simply a farce with Wigan scoring when and how they liked.” ● WIDNES VIKINGS: On This Day available now at £9.99 from the Vikings Superstore. ●
ONE of the shining lights for Widnes in 2016 was undoubtedly young second-row forward Matt Whitley.
He was named both Stronghold Members and Players’ Player of the Year and also earned a place on the shortlist for Super League’s Young Player of the Year award.
As he approaches his 21st birthday next week, Whitley is in no mood for resting on his laurels.
Vikings head coach Denis Betts has awarded him squad number 12 for the coming season and Whitley has every intention of justifying his boss’s faith in him.
He’s been rolling his sleeves up in pre-season training and is looking forward to some compet- itive action.
He said: “I really enjoy pre-season. I like getting back in early with the lads and spending time with them.
“The hard work doesn’t bother me; I’m quite fond of getting stuck in.
“I showed a bit of what I can do last year and hopefully this year I can better it.
“I just want to keep improving my game in every way I can.
“There’s quite a few lads now competing for back-row spots but hopefully I can get a bit of gametime in these pre-season friendlies and kick-on to the start of the season.”
Whitley is backing his team to get over the loss of skipper and playmaker Kevin Brown.
After four seasons at the Select Security Stadium, Brown has moved on to local rivals Warrington for an undisclosed transfer fee.
But Brown’s replacement at the heart of the team, Tom Gilmore, is more than up to the task according to Whitley.
And as far as the team as a whole is concerned, it’s onward and upward.
Whitley added: “Tom Gilmore’s got the number seven now and I think he’s going to have a really good season this year.
“It’s his big break into the team; he’s not had that many opportunities over the last few years.
“Now he’s got this chance, I think he’s going to take it.
“I think we can do better this season. We went through a stage last year when we weren’t quite getting the results we wanted.
“We had a run of about eight games where we didn’t pick up a win but we were generally competitive even then.
“We just need to get over the line in some more of those tight games and I don’t see why we can’t have another good season.
“Top four has to be the aim. We finished seventh last year and we have to be looking to improve on that.”
Whitley sat out the Festive Derby against Warrington but is expected to take his place in the Vikings line-up for this Sunday’s pre-season friendly clash against Halifax RLFC at the Select Security Stadium (kick-off 3pm).
Matt Whitley scores a try for the Vikings against Wakefield last season.