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10th May 2003: Widnes 18 Wigan 22
Widnes Vikings v Wigan Warriors Tetley's Super League VIII Round 9
Saturday 10th May. Kick Off 6:05pm at Halton Stadium.
CherryandWhite.co.uk Match Report by Rebecca Smith
Tired Warriors End Busy Week With Tough Win

Wigan's youngsters weathered a late Widnes fight back to take the spoils in a tense match at the Halton Stadium, on Saturday night.

Playing their third game in nine days and lacking eight first-team players, Wigan faced an enthusiastic Widnes side looking to avenge their humiliation at Warrington last week.

A relieved Stuart Raper said afterwards: ‘The boys are absolutely exhausted. I was a bit concerned at half-time because they were tired but we dug deep.’

‘They came back at us really strongly but we hung in there. It was never going to be pretty but we got what we came for and that's two points. Thankfully, it's the end of a tough week and I'm giving them a couple of days off to re-charge their batteries.’

The entertaining game saw the lead change four times. Up until the final hooter Widnes looked more than capable of snatching victory. But Raper’s boys hung on to deny Widnes coach, Neil Kelly, a birthday win.

The Vikings lead 4-0 after 14 minutes, through the accurate boot of Julian O’Neill, a Wigan player up until a few weeks ago.

But a bit of class from his former half-back partner, Adrian Lam, gave Wigan the upper hand. He darted around Adam Hughes to set up a try for Brian Carney. Tickle converted from the touchline to put Wigan 4-6 up.

The Warriors extended their lead just before half-time when Martin Aspinwall managed to get the ball down after quick hands from his team-mates.

A sloppy mistake at the restart of the second half put fire in the Vikings bellies. And their pressure paid off with a try for centre Adam Hughes. O’Neill converted to level the scores, then put his new side ahead with another penalty.

Wigan snatched the lead back in controversial circumstances. Vikings centre Jason Demetriou lost the ball on his own 20m line, in a two man tackle from Newton and Graham. Newton scooped up the loose ball and put Ainscough away down the wing for a try.

Russell Smith refered the decision to his video referee who ruled, to Neil Kelly’s anger, that the ball was dropped and not stolen.

A furious Kelly described the decision as incompetent. He said: ‘How he came to that decision is beyond me. The Wigan players were setting up for a penalty against them. It was an incompetent decision. It's hard to take when a number of decisions go against you. They tell me they tend to level themselves out and I look forward to that day.’

Tickle didn't convert Ainscough’s effort but did grab an extra two-points with a 60-minute penalty.

Four minutes from time the outstanding Terry Newton dived over from dummy-half and when Tickle converted the points looked assured. But an injury-time try from Newton’s opposite number, Millard, converted by O’Neill, meant the shattered Warriors had to defend desperately until the hooter.

Team Sheets

Vikings

Warriors

No.
Player
Pos No.
Player
1 Stuart Spruce Full Back 1 Kris Radlinski
14 Marvin Golden Wing 5 Brian Carney
5 Jason Demetriou Centre 18 Martin Aspinwall
4 Adam Hughes Centre 14 David Hodgson
24 Chris Giles Wing 3 Jamie Ainscough
18 Dean Lawford Stand Off 4 Paul Johnson
7 Ryan Sheridan Scrum Half 7 Adrian Lam
8 Robbie Relf Prop 8 Terry O'Connor
9 Shane Millard Hooker 9 Terry Newton
10 Julian O'Neill Prop 16 Danny Sculthorpe
11 Andy Hay 2nd Row 23 Gareth Hock
13 Daniel Frame 2nd Row 12 Danny Tickle
26 Julian O'Neill L.Forward 28 Nick Graham
15 Ryan MacDonald Sub 17 Mark Smith
17 Anthony Farrell Sub 22 Shaun Briscoe
19 Paul Atcheson Sub 25 Kevin Brown
27 Paul Alcock Sub 26 Mark Roberts
Score Sheet
Widnes Vikings 18-22 Wigan Warriors

Tries:
Adam Hughes (50)
Shane Millard (77)

Tries:
Brian Carney (18)
Martin Aspinwall (36)
Jamie Ainscough (60)
Terry Newton (73)

Goals:
Julian O'Neill (26) 5

Goals:
Danny Tickle 3

Match Info

Half Time: 4-10 Wigan
Match Attendance: 6,307
Referee: Russell Smith (Castleford)
Cherry and White Star Man: Terry Newton

Alternative Match Reports
Vikings slump to third home defeat of the season - Widnes Official Site
Wigan repel Vikings - BBC Online
Young Warriors march on - Sky Sports
Under-strength Wigan continue revival - Press Association
Wigan end busy week with three points - superleague.co.uk
Wigan man the barricades to withstand late surge - The Independent
Wigan beat Widnes in controversial circumstances - rleague.com
Wigan hold on to gain win - wiganrl.com
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