Widnes ready for big kick-off with a positive start particularly crucial
FINALLY, the waiting is over, as Widnes RUFC prepare to take on newly-promoted Hoylake at Heath Road on Saturday in their first league game of the new campaign.
And, what a season it promises to be.
Many teams have strengthened both on and off the field, and with the chance of a potential shake-up of the League at the end of the season – which could involve some enforced relegation for clubs – the pressure is really on to make a positive start.
Widnes have already played two pre-season trial games. They comfortably beat Eagle, before earning a credible draw against Warrington who play at a level higher than the Wids.
They did, though, miss out on the real intensity of a competitive cup game last weekend after receiving a bye in the Lancashire Plate.
This Saturday afternoon’s opponents, Hoylake, easily saw off the challenge of a mixed Sedgley Park outfit a fortnight ago, but slipped up at Congleton last weekend in the first round of the Cheshire Bowl.
The Wirral-based outfit were in terrific form last season finishing in second place, and they will be keen to make an impression right from the off.
Widnes, meanwhile, managed to start off well enough with three successive wins, but will be looking to improve on what turned out to be an eventual seventh place finish.
It is seven years since these two clubs last met.
That day, Widnes edged ● home 20-3 in the corresponding fixture at Heath Road.
Since then, both teams have experienced the highs of promotion as well as the lows of relegation.
Clashes between the two have often been close and keenly-fought affairs, and as Widnes club skipper Kevin Leadbetter confirmed after the Warrington fixture, this Saturday’s game will be no exception.
“We have trained well over the summer, the pre-season games have gone well, and we can’t wait to get some real action under our belt,” he said.
In the other senior fixtures, the second XV take on Capenhurst at home in Division Two South, whilst the thirds make the short journey to face Sefton in Division Four West.
All the games will kick-off at 3pm. ● Widnes club president, Stephen Morris, would also like to remind members and supporters to buy their pre-match buffet tickets for the game in plenty of time as places are going fast. Tickets are priced at just £10 for an excellent four course meal at the club.
Widnes captain Kevin Leadbetter passes the ball in a game against Anselmians last season.