Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Widnes Vikings -

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).

Craig Gal­loway

Matt Whit­ley scores a try for the Vik­ings against Wake­field last sea­son.

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