2010 Widnes Vikings season
|2010 Widnes Vikings season|
|Play-off result||To be decided|
|Challenge Cup||Fifth round to be played
(vs. Wigan Warriors)
|National League Cup||Quarter Finals to be played
(vs. Barrow Raiders)
|2010 record||Wins: 10; Draws: 1; Losses: 2|
|Points scored||For: 296; Against: 184|
|Head coach||Paul Cullen|
|Stadium||Stobart Stadium Halton|
(vs. Halifax, 18 Mar)
|Tries||Anthony Thackeray (14)|
|Goals||Shane Grady (71)|
|Points||Shane Grady (178)|
The Widnes Vikings are competing in the Co-operative Championship in 2010. The Vikings are looking to gain a 2012–14 Super League licence, as applications for Super League license has to be submitted by the end of the 2010 season. The Vikings are also looking to improve on their 2009 league position when they finished 4th. Widnes are also defending 2010 National League Cup champions this season after they won the competition in 2009.[dated info]
- 1 Off Field Activity
- 2 Pre season
- 3 Regular season
- 3.1 Fixtures/Results
- 3.1.1 National League Cup
- 3.1.2 Challenge Cup
- 3.1.3 Championship
- 3.1 Fixtures/Results
- 4 References
Off Field Activity
Manufactured by Irish based O'Neill's Sportswear, the shirt has been specially designed with advances moisture control allowing the body to breathe easily with the garment feeling dry and cool to contribute to improved player performance.
The main shirt sponsor is the Stobart Group, which features the word 'Stobart' written across the front of the shirt. The strip also has four coloured lines (1 black, 2 red and another black line) stretching up the left hand side of the shirt, these four lines are similar to the three red lines the Stobart Group use on their haulage vehicles.
The shirt also features the RFL's 'Try Assist' logo, the new name for the RFL Benevolent Fund and a new sleeve sponsor for 2010 in Halton Housing Trust. The logo of Halton Borough Council is also displayed on the right hand side of the chest on the front of the shirt.
For the Gateshead Thunder game in 2009, chairman Steve O'Connor offered free admission for all Vikings fans. As season ticket holders did not benefit from this special offer (as they had already paid for the game when purchasing their season ticket), the club decided they would give vouchers to the 2009 season ticket holders who renewed their season tickets during an 'Ealry Bird' promotion. The vouchers were for fans to use on kit manufacturer O'Neills merchandise in the January sales.
Fans could claim discounts on Vikings items from the store, including the new 2010 strip. The discounts were: adult season ticket holders £10, concession season ticket holders £7 and junior season ticket holders £2. These discounts could only be applied when visiting the O'Neils store in Widnes town centre.
Vikings' CEO Alex Bonney explained the thinking behind the initiative: "Steve's offer in June came when things weren't going well on the pitch and the comeback against Gateshead, plus the atmosphere generated by our fans, set the team up for the victory over Halifax in the NRC semi-final and ultimately the final victory over Barrow to give us the ability to apply for a 2012 Super League licence.
"While recognising that season ticket holders had already paid for this game as part of their 2009 ticket, we had planned to discount their 2010 season ticket but were heartened that a number of fans spoke to us to say that they understood the 'bigger picture' and were keen to back the club's initiative for that game without recompense.
"With that in mind, and in conjunction with O'Neill's, the voucher scheme was established.
"However, for those fans who do not wish to avail of this offer, we will class their voucher as a donation to the Valhalla Foundation, our award-winning charity."
Special Edition Charity Kit
On Thursday 18 March Widnes wore a specially designed "one-off" charity kit during their Co-Operative Championship match, that was broadcast live on Sky Sports against Halifax to promote the Everyman Campaign, which raises awareness of testicular and prostate cancer in men.
The specially designed kit was manufactured by the Vikings current kit manufacturer O'Neils. The design of the kit was featured around a "nude" look, with the shirt made to look like a bare chested male torso, and the shorts made to look like males thighs, with a fig leaf covering the genital area.
Fans could purchase the special edition shirt from Wednesday 10 March. The shirt cost £40 and in aid of event O'Neil's donated £5 from every shirt sale to the Everyman charity. Fans were also able to make a donation online through a special page set up by the Vikings on the Justgiving website. Fans were also able to donate on the night at the Stobart Stadium Halton as volunteers were available within the stadium to collect donations.
To raise further funds for the charity, fans were able to purchase the match shirts worn by the players on the night through an auction run by the club. Fans were given until 5.00 pm on Monday 22 March to submit a bid to the club. Bids opened up at a minimum price of £50.00 and bids could be submitted by e-mail or by leaving a bid in a sealed envelope at the club reception.
Vikings chairman Steve O'Connor said: "Nearly everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer. Unfortunately among men it is still a problem we don't like to talk about. We want to help raise awareness of the symptoms - and how to get help - and also help to raise money for such an important cause. We have chosen the Halifax game because we are expecting a big crowd so we can make a significant donation to Everyman".
Everyman spokesperson Tatjana Trposka said: "We are thrilled with the support we have received from Widnes Vikings. We desperately need to raise more awareness and funds to fight prostate and testicular cancers and we are another step closer thanks to the help of Widnes.
Transfers & Squad
It was all change for Widnes during pre-season with eight popular first team players leaving the Stobart Stadium Halton for pastures new. Gavin Dodd, John Duffy, Richard Fletcher, Tim Hartley, Michael Ostick and Brett Robinson all left in transfer deals, whilst Danny Mills and Lee Paterson were released.
Many of the moves were forced due to RFL reducing the salary cap. Previously the Championship's salary cap operated by limiting a club's player costs to no more than 50% of the club's income and is capped at a limit of £400,000. The new figures for 2010 will be reduced to 40% and £300,000, respectively.
Sporting Director Terry O'Connor said: "I know some of the players leaving would prefer to stay and we would like to keep them but with the reduction of the salary cap to £300,000, we have to spend accordingly".
|Player||Signed From||Date Signed||Contract Length|
|James Ford||Castleford Tigers||1 September 2009||2 Years|
|Steve Pickersgill||Warrington Wolves||15th September2009||3 Years|
|Thomas Coyle||Oldham Roughyeds||5 October 2009|
|Gareth Haggerty||Harlequins||6 October 2009||1 Year|
|Chris Gerrard||Wigan Warriors||6 October 2009||2 Years|
Under new rulings Super League players are eligible for dual registration with a Championship club. The dual registration system is different to a loan agreement. Dual registered players can be called back at any time by their original club, when needed to play for them intermittently based upon form or injuries. When they are not needed by their original club they are eligible to play for their alternative dual registered club.
A player is only eligible for dual registration if they are outside the top 20 players (financially) of the Super League club's playing squad. Dual registered players are not allowed to feature in Challenge Cup games for their alternative club.
Loan players may go to Championship Clubs or to Super League clubs but must go for a minimum of 4 weeks.
|Player||Contracted Club||Contract Type||Contract Length||Date Signed|
|Chris Dean||St. Helens||Dual Registration||Full Season||December 2009|
|Shaun Ainscough||Wigan Warriors||Dual Registration||Full Season||February 2010|
|Liam Farrel||Wigan Warriors||Dual Registration||Full Season||February 2010|
|Ben Davies||Wigan Warriors||Loan||3 Months||February 2010|
|Player||Transferred To||Date Left|
|John Duffy||Leigh Centurions||September 2009|
|Iain Morrison||Featherstone Rovers||October 2009|
|Gavin Dodd||October 2009|
|Richard Fletcher||October 2009|
|Tim Hartley||October 2009|
|Brett Robinson||October 2009|
|Danny Mills||Released||October 2009|
|Lee Paterson||Released||October 2009|
|Josh Simm||Released||October 2009|
|Michael Ostick||Rochdale Hornets||December 2009|
2010 Widnes Vikings season
|First Team Squad||Coaching staff|
Updated: 7 December 2009
The international rugby league season took place between the 2009 and 2010 seasons, with the Four Nations being held in England and France. Vikings assistant coach Stuart Wilkinson assisted former Widnes star Bobbie Goulding by leading the French national team into the Four Nations, against England, Australia and New Zealand.
France's opening game was against England in the Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster. Wilkinson and Goulding's French outfit started off strong taking a 12-4 lead at half time. England put in a strong second half performance scoring 30 unanswered point to win the game 34-12. Results didn't get much better for the French side as they were punished 62-12 by New Zealand in their second game of the competition and defeated 42-4 by Australia in their final game.
Despite losing all three games Wilkinson believes the experience will prove invaluable to him as a coach as he gained valuable insights on some new training and tactical ideas he plans to introduce to the training pitch at Widnes. He said: "It's great working with and against the game's elite and pitting your wits against the best players and coaches in the world. Since returning I've already discussed tactics with Paul at length and we'll see what we can do."
|1||26 Dec 2009||15:00||H||Warrington Wolves||A||A - A||Stobart Stadium Halton||-|
|2||10 Jan 2010||15:00||A||Blackpool Panthers||A||A - A||Woodlands Memorial Ground||-|
|3||19 Jan 2010||19:30||H||St. Helens||L||26 - 42||Stobart Stadium Halton||2,034|
|4||23 Jan 2010||15:00||A||AS Carcassonne||L||32 - 14||Stade d'Albert Domec||800|
|5||24 Jan 2010||15:00||H||Salford City Reds||L||0 - 36||Stobart Stadium Halton||1,780|
Round 1: vs. Warrington
|Round 1: Widnes Vikings vs. Warrington Wolves|
Widnes Vikings are hoping to open up their pre-season schedule with a win over Super League neighbours and fierce rivals Warrington Wolves, in the World of Beds Cup on Boxing Day. This will also be the first time the fans get the chance to see some of the Vikings new signings in action.
It will be the first time former Wolves player Steve Pickersgill faces up against his old club after his transfer to the Vikings during the off season. Vikings Head Coach Paul Cullen also a former Warrington Wolves player stated that the tie is not about "me versus Warrington", it's about getting a good run-out for some of our players and raising some funds".
However, freezing weather conditions led to the game being cancelled as the surface was unplayable, and road conditions treacherous for fans. The game was re-scheduled for Sunday, January 3rd but again the severe weather conditions resulted in the game being cancelled a second time.
Round 2: vs. Blackpool
|Round 2: Blackpool Panthers vs. Widnes Vikings|
Widnes Vikings assistant coach Stuart Wilkinson and conditioning coach Mick Cassidy continued their pre-season preparations by getting the Widnes side ready for a seaside clash with Blackpool Panthers in the absence of head coach Paul Cullen who was granted compassionate leave by the club whilst his wife is receiving treatment for cancer.
The snow and ice has meant the temporary duo of Wilkinson and Cassidy have had the unenviable task of finding alternative methods of preparing the squad for the Blackpool fixture. Wilkinson is happy to do all he can to help out during a difficult time for the club, he said: "I love the coaching work that I do and I have no aspiration to be a head coach, but it's a case of needs must at the moment. We're working in an unusual circumstances and Paul will be in and out. We're all supporting Paul in the best way we can and so myself and Mick Cassidy will ensure everything runs like he wants it to."
Despite all the effort put in on both sides to prepare for the fixture, the freezing weather conditions have again interrupted the Viking's pre season schedule. Due to snow and ice the pitch has been deemed unplayable and the Blackpool Panthers vs Widnes Vikings game was cancelled.
Round 3: vs. St Helens
|Round 3: Widnes Vikings vs. St Helens|
2,034 fans braved the bitterly cold weather as the Widnes Vikings suffered a 42-26 defeat at the hands of Super League giants St. Helens in the Karalius Cup. This is the second time the sides have met in the Karalius Cup which was set up in honour of Vince Karalius who was a well decorated player for both Widnes and St Helens in the 1950s and 1960s. Vince died from cancer in 2008.
This was the first run out the players had had in the 2010 campaign after the Vikings pre-season preparations were hampered by severe weather conditions, dubbed the Big Freeze by the media. Severe snowfall had resulted in unplayable conditions with caused both the Warrington Wolves and Blackpool Panthers games to be cancelled. For many of the Vikings players this was the first time they had played in months and was a chance to try to cement their place in the starting line up for the upcoming Co-operative Championship season.
Saint's arrived at the Stobart Stadium with plenty of players who are expecting to see first team action in this year's Super League campaign, with Saints imposing an early 22 point lead after four unanswered tries from Gary Wheeler, Jamie Foster, Sia Soliola and Bryn Hargreaves and 3 conversions from Jamie Foster.
Widnes who chose to wear their new 2010 away strip for the clash soon broke through the St Helens defence with two tries from Dean Thompson who was thrust into the starting line up after Toa Kohe-Love pulled a ham string during the pre-game warm up. Shane Grady followed up with successful conversions to add the extras to make it 22-12.
Tom Armstrong increased the St Helens lead before a superb 80 metre inter-passing run between Anthony Thackeray and Danny Hulme with Thackeray going in for the points to score the final try of the half.
The Vikings were first off the mark in the second half with a try from Matt Strong who went in over the line from close range as he made the most of his opportunity following a fumble on possession from the Saints.
The Saints lead was quickly closed as Matt Gardner went in for another Widnes try, but this was too little too late as the Saints held out a 10 point lead before Jamie Ellis finished off the Vikings with another St Helens try.
After the game Saints Head coach Mick Potter was full of admiration for the Vikings. He said: "I think Widnes have got some real players in there who can really make a impact on the Championship next season. From what I seen out there James Webster could still play Super League and with Mark Smith leading them around the park they have a leader. The forwards are pretty solid too, so I think Widnes look in decent shape ahead of the season."
Vikings Head coach Paul Cullen was also impressed with the Vikings performance. He said: "I was very happy with what I saw out there. The main thing was the players got some quality game time and got out on the pitch. The likes of Dean Thompson has come in for Toa Kohe-Love on the last minute and he has gone over for two tries and he took them well. Shane Grady has also done well."
Round 4: vs. Carcassonne
|Round 4: Carcassonne vs. Widnes Vikings|
To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the French club, Carcassonne and Widnes organised this pre-season friendly in France. The match against Carcassonne, the club with best historical record in France, was well attended with more than 800 spectators.
The Vikings had a pre-season friendly lined up against Salford City Reds the following day, taking this into account Widnes sent a combination of players from the academy and the reserve side with players ranging from sixteen to twenty one years of age.
This was the first time that the vast majority of the young squad had experienced open age rugby against a Carcassonne consisting seasoned professionals. Two minutes in Widnes lost full back Dave Kennedy, one of our more experienced players, through injury. Kennedy was replaced by Dave Dourley. The young Vikings side stood up well against a vastly more experienced team who were match fit being in the middle of their season. After 8 minutes a towering kick from Danny Craven was pounced on by Mark Briodie to score the opening try of the match, with Craven converting for the extra points.
The Carcassonne forwards were not making much progress but had a good kicking game. Widnes gave away a few penalties early on but were otherwise faultless in defence. A 40-20 by Dave Dourley set up a scrum out on the right and from the scrum good work by Gregg Scott and Tom Rigby sent Chris Moogan over after 23 mins.
The Vikings were penalised for a knock on shortly after the kick off and Carcassonne made the most of the opportunity and after good work from Andreas Bauer went over wide right on 27 mins. Substitutions were coming thick and fast and the French side's half backs came into fruition. A good handling move resulted in a try under the posts after 32 mins. Carcassonne converted making it 10 – 10 at the halftime interval.
The first set of the second half resulted in a try for Adam Lawton but the conversion was missed by Craven. Carcassonne began to make the most of their possession and on 47 mins juggled the ball over the line to score out wide on the left but failed to make the conversion.
The Vikings were penalised for another knock on, which gave Carcassonne the ball close to the Widnes line. Carcassonne again made the most of the opportunity and scored in the corner. This was followed up by a successful conversion to lead 20 - 14.
Widnes' lack of match fitness was beginning to show, the Vikings made a few breaks but could not capitalise. Carcassonne kept the ball alive on their possession and their prop crashed over for another try and kicked the conversion to take the lead 26 - 14.
Widnes had chances but were giving up possession too easily. The scoring was completed after 67 mins when another good passing move resulted in a Carcassonne try. The conversion was successful give Carcassonne a 32 - 14 lead which they held onto until the end of the match.
Round 5: vs. Salford
|Round 5: Widnes Vikings vs. Salford City Reds|
Widnes suffered another setback in the pre-season preparations after losing 36-0 to Salford City Reds at the Stobart Stadium Halton. Salford fielded their strongest possible side for the friendly match in preparation for the upcoming Super League season. Amongst the Salford line-up were three former Vikings players Karl Fitzpatrick, Stephen Tyrer and Adam Sidlow, who scored five tries between them.
This is the second time in a week that the Vikings have faced a Super League side after they were defeated last Tuesday (19 January 2010) by St. Helens. Widnes were missing seven senior first team players from the starting line-up, and the younger, inexperienced Vikings side could not cope with the pressure from the Super League side.
Widnes had a few moments early on but a tight Salford defence was able to shut them out. The game lacked any real excitement and was very much a stop start affair, with referee James Child taking centre stage after interrupting the game 27 times for penalties. The referee was also the centre of a controversial decision when he dismissed Tommy Coyle and Karl Fitzpatrick after Fitzpatrick struck Coyle after the hooker had delivered a loose high tackle which Widnes Head Coach Paul Cullen said wasn't a sending off offence. Fitzpatrick was then involved in a further incident when he threw his sports drink into a section of Widnes supporters before heading down the tunnel to the dressing room. As a result of the red card Fitzpatrick could miss the start of the Super League season through suspension.
Salford put points on the board early on after Fitzpatrick went over the line after only two minutes of play and again a few moments later for his second. Salford continued the scoring with tries from Steve Tyrer and Ashley Gibson. Salford took a sixteen point lead into the break and added another twenty points in the second half with tries from Steve Tyrer, Adam Sidlow, Jodie Broughton and Luke Adamson. Stefan Ratchford added the extra points with two successful conversions.
Vikings head coach Paul Cullen can take some comfort in knowing that this is a new squad and he won't be facing Super League opposition week in week out this season, he said: We won't be playing that calibre of opposition every week. Today was all about using this match to try to toughen ourselves up and if that's all we've got out of it, so be it. Salford were very good and you have to take into account the opposition here and that they are in Super League. We had a number of key players missing, but it's a trial game and the real work starts next week."
Karl Fitzpatrick issued a public apology the following day to the Widnes supports for his conduct as he left the field after his red card. Fitzpatrick offered to personally meet and apologise to any Vikings supporters that were affected by his actions. Director of Football for Salford Steve Simms said: "Karl was shook up by our version of events and he has no recollection of any of it. The blow to the head has knocked the sense out of him. However, none of this condones what happened out there, for which Karl and the Club are deeply apologetic".
National League Cup
The Widnes Vikings are competing in National League Cup, known as the Northern Rail Cup for sponsorship reasons. This is a competition for clubs in the Co-operative Championship and Championship One. The exception to this is Toulouse Olympique, who do not participate in the cup at present.
|1||2 Feb 2010||20:00||H||Gateshead Thunder||W||50 - 6||Stobart Stadium Halton||2,200|
|2||7 Feb 2010||14:00||A||Batley Bulldogs||D||30 - 30||Mount Pleasant||1,004|
|3||14 Feb 2010||15:00||H||Barrow Raiders||W||22 - 20||Stobart Stadium Halton||3,432|
|4||21 Feb 2010||15:00||A||Swinton Lions||W||12 - 36||Park Lane||816|
Pool 1 Qualification Table
|6||York City Knights||4||1||1||2||86||94||−8||2||7|
|Teams qualifying for the next round|
Source: Northern Rail Cup Table – The RFL 
Classification: 1st on competition points; 2nd on match points difference.
Competition Points: For win = 3; For draw = 2; For loss by 12 points or fewer = 1
Round 1: vs. Gateshead
|Round 1: Widnes Vikings vs. Gateshead Thunder|
The Vikings are current Northern Rail Cup defending champions after winning the competition last year. The victory last year gave the Vikings the so-called "tick in the box" for a Super League licence, but Vikings Skipper Mark Smith admits the team are still hungry for success and want to make opening statement of their intent not to the trophy go. He said:- "It means a lot to be defending the trophy, we've got the tick but it's no different. We want to defend it and win it. People used to call it the Mickey Mouse Cup but I'll tell you something, every cat and his dog wants to win it now to get the tick in the box."
After a disappointing defeat to Super League Salford City Reds in a friendly match a week earlier, Vikings fans were expecting a better result against Co-Operative Championship 1 Gateshead. Speaking on Gateshead, Assistant Coach Stuart Wilkinson said:- "I thought they were very good and I won't be surprised if they do well again this year. I like the enterprising and exciting way they play. We've got a lot of respect for them but at this time our focus will mainly be on ourselves and what we can do better."
The Vikings opened the scoring after only four minutes with a try from Anthony Thackeray. New signing James Ford, who is making his first competitive debut for Widnes, scored two tries in quick session minutes later.
Another try followed from Matt Gardner and it quickly became obvious the Vikings would be far too strong Gateshead, after James Ford sealed of an impressive first half performance by completing his hatrick on 27 minutes.
Dual registered Chris Dean, who made his second Widnes appearance after returning from St. Helens went over 4 minutes later. Shane Grady completed the first half scoring with a try over in the left hand corner, to give the Vikings a 34 - 0 lead going in at the half time break.
It took only 8 minutes after the break for James Ford to bag his fourth try of the night. Shane Grady added the extra's for the Conversion.
Gateshead held out well and it took the Vikings a further 20 minutes before Chris Dean crossed the line for his second try of the night.
Vikings Head coach Paul Cullen was watching from the sidelines, after watching the pre-season games from the stands whilst on compassionate leave, said:- "It was just good to get on the field . It was a bit disappointing that we were 34-0 up at half time and we didn't cross for a few more scores in the second half. But we can't kid ourselves - at 34-0 the game is done and dusted and we have to back ourselves up with another game at Batley on Sunday".
Round 2: vs. Batley
|Round 2: Batley Bulldogs vs. Widnes Vikings|
Shane Grady kept a cool head to seal a 30-30 draw for the Vikings as he kicked a conversion, two minutes from time in the Northern Rail Cup group game at Batley Bulldogs. The Kicking game has been a concern for the Vikings at the start of the season, but Grady kept a cool head as he slotted the conversion from a difficult angle out wide.
Assistant coach Stuart Wilkinson insisted before the game that Widnes still have room for improvement, despite hammering Gateshead Thunder 50-6 only 5 days earlier. Wilkinson said: "We're still not where we want to be. There are things that we've improved on but there are other things that we need to focus on over the next couple of weeks."
The Vikings were without Thomas Coyle after his appeal against a one-match ban was unsuccessful. Coyle was sent off for a high tackle during the friendly game against Salford City Reds on 24 January. The Appeals committee felt the tackle was careless and ruled that as this was not the first time the player's tackling technique had been highlighted, the suspension should be upheld. The Vikings gave debuts to their new dual signing and loan captures Shaun Ainscough who started on the wing, and forwards Ben Davies and Liam Farrell started on the bench.
Batley, who were playing up the hill in the first half, opened the scoring on 9 minutes with a try from Lee Greenwood after he chased down an attacking kick into the corner. Gareth Moore added the extras. It took the Vikings only 4 minutes to respond, after Lee Doran went over for a try on 13 minutes, with Shane Grady adding the extra's to tie the game 6-6.
On 19 minutes John Campbell controversially bounced over the line after he appeared to be tackled. Widnes players and the fans behind the goal shouted for a double-movement, but referee Gareth Hewer blew the whistle for the try. Gareth Moore added the extras to give the Bulldogs a 12-6 lead.
Widnes came out strong in the second half and opened the scoring on 39 minutes with a try from Ben Kavanagh. Shane Grady added the extras.
The Bulldogs edged further ahead after poor defending allowed Lee Greenwood to kick deep and evade the Vikings defence, before heading downfield. Greenwood kicked ahead again, and John Campbell won the race for Batley to score on 46 minutes. Gareth Moore made the conversion to give the Bulldogs a 30-16 lead.
Widnes kept their heads up and a well placed kick into the corner from Anthony Thackeray was pounced on by dual registered Shaun Ainscough, to put the Vikings right back into the game on 53 minutes with a well taken try. Shane Grady missed the conversion.
Thackeray turned from hero to villain 7 minutes later, when he was dismissed to the Sin Bin on 60 minutes after Thackeray reacted to John Campbell grabbing him as they came out of the tackle and pushed Campbell over as he stood back up. Referee consulted the touch judge and shown Thackeray the yellow card. After the game Thackeray said: "I've never been sent off the field in my life as I'm not really like that, but he did grab me and that's why I reacted. I was gutted and felt like I'd let the lads down."
The Vikings who were a man down due to Thackeray's sin bin offence were still able to plough through for a try when Shaun Ainscough went over for his second on 68 minutes. Shane Grady added the extra's to make it 30 - 24.
With time running out, Thackeray was again the centre of the action when he returned from his stint in the sin bin, Thackeray was able to slice his way through a tire Batley defence to score a try on 75 minutes. Grady who had seen three of five kicks miss the target kept a cool head and kicked the conversion to make it 30 - 30.
Paul Handforth lined up for a 79th minute drop goal for Batley but his kick missed and Widnes were able to regain possession. The final hooter sounded and it finished 30 - 30.
Round 3: vs. Barrow
|Round 3: Widnes Vikings vs. Barrow Raiders|
In the first half Barrow opened up the scoring on 12 minutes through a James Nixon try. Jamie Rooney converted the extra's. Widnes were soon level Liam Farrell went over on 21 minutes after some excellent build up play from James Webster and Anthony Thackeray. Shane Grady added the extra's to make it 6-6.
The Vikings failed to recover the kick off and Barrow punished them for the mistake with a try from Liam Harrison on 25 minutes. Jamie Rooney converted the extra points to make it 6-12 to Barrow.
Barrow continued to put the pressure on Widnes and Nathan Mossop scored for Barrow on 29 minutes. Rooney missed the conversion, but was on target 8 minutes later when Barrow opted to kick a penalty. Rooney put the penalty kick between the uprights on 37 minutes to give Barrow a 6 - 18 lead at the end of the first half.
Jamie Rooney opened up scoring in the second half for Barrow, when Barrow opted for a penalty kick on 60 minutes, giving barrow a 6 - 20 lead.
The game was looking beyond the Vikings until Dave Houghton ploughed through the Barrow line after spinning out of a tackle to score a try on 61 minutes. Shane Grady converted the extra points to make it 12 - 20.
Both sides were reduced to 12 men in the 73rd minute when Ben Kavanagh was shown the red car for a high tackle on Rob Roberts, Roberts threw a punch in retaliation and was shown the yellow card and sent to the sin-bin.
From the kick off Widnes threw everything they had at a tired looking Barrow side. Quick hands down the right handside from Mark Smith and Toa Kohe-Love set up Shaun Ainscough to score the final try of the match on 79 minutes. The Barrow players slumped on the ground as the hooter sounded to signal the end of the match whilst the Vikings were still celebrating. Grady missed the conversion and it finished Widnes 22 & Barrow 20.
This was the first visit to the Stobart Stadium Halton for former Vikings, and current Barrow Head Coach Steve McCormack since he left the Vikings. Speaking after the game McCormack said: "Credit to Widnes with the way they stuck at it and kept going at the end. Widnes put us under a lot of pressure in the second half and it paid off for them."
Vikings head coach Paul Cullen said: "It really was a massive effort. To give a side as good as Barrow that much ball and defend as well as we did gives us great hope for the future. "Considering we lost four players hours before the kick-off (through injury), and then to win the game when we were down to 12 men is testimony to the side's fitness and character."
Round 4: vs. Swinton
|Round 4: Swinton Lions vs. Widnes Vikings|
Widnes only needed one bonus point from the game against Swinton Lions to qualify for the quarter finals of the Northern Rail Cup, However, the Vikings secured all three points after they defeated Swinton 36-12 in front of 816 spectators who braved the elements of hail, snow and sleet at Park Lane.
Swinton put the first points on the board with a try on 4 minutes from Richie Hawkyard. Former Vikings man Gavin Dodd added the extras for Swinton to gave them an early 6 - 0 lead.
Widnes struck back six minutes later when Toa Kohe-Love showed good strength to force his way over for a try on 10 mins. Shane Grady missed the conversion.
Grady made amends three minutes later after he latched onto a long pass from Mark Smith to make a powerful break downfield before a short inside pass to send Matt Gardner in for a try on 12 minutes. Grady converted the extras to give Widnes a 10-6 lead.
Dodd brought things level on 19 minutes with a try in the corner, however he missed the conversion to add the extras.
The Vikings pulled further ahead through Shane Grady when he went over for a try on 22 minutes. His conversion attempt from the touchline struck the post and stayed out and it was 14 - 10 to the Vikings.
Gavin Dodd pulled another two points back for Swinton after he converted a penalty kick on 31 minutes to make it 14 - 12.
The Vikings stretched their lead on 39 minutes after Shaun Ainscough chased a kick downfield, his opposite number Rob Foxen collected the kick but ainsouch was quick to react and stole the ball from Foxen and ran it in for a try. Grady added the extra's to give Widnes a 20 - 12 lead at half time.
The conditions were difficult for the players in the second half as the weather go worse, if it were not for the slippy ball and surface there could have been more tries in the second half. Toa Kohe-Love went over on 52 mins with Shane Grady adding the extra's to give Widnes a 26 - 12 lead.
Widnes struck again on 53 minutes after a powerful break up midfield from Gareth Haggerty who released the ball inside for Mark Smith to dash 45 metres to score under the posts. Grady added the extra's to make it 32 - 12.
Anthony Thackeray went over for Widnes on 72 minutes to score the final try of the match. Grady missed the extra's and the game finished 32 - 12 to Widnes.
The 2010 Challenge Cup (officially known as the 2010 Carnegie Challenge Cup for sponsorship reasons) is a knockout rugby league tournament which began its preliminary stages in January.
The final of the Challenge Cup is one of the most prestigious matches in world rugby league, and is traditionally held at Wembley Stadium, London. Despite London not being an area traditionally associated with rugby league, the final receives a lot of mainstream media coverage and is broadcast to many different countries around the world.
Widnes Vikings joined the 2010 Challenge Cup in the third round and were drawn against amateur side Wigan St Judes.
|3||9 Mar 2010||19:30||H||Wigan St Judes||W||64 - 12||Stobart Stadium Halton||1,622|
Round 3: vs. Wigan St Judes
|Round 3: Widnes Vikings vs. Wigan St Judes|
The Vikings sailed through into the fourth round of the Challenge Cup after a comfortable 64 - 12 win over amateur club Wigan St Judes.
The match was originally due to take place on Sunday 7 March at 15:00 GMT, but was cancelled due to a frozen pitch. The match was re-scheduled for 9 March at 19:30 GMT.
St Judes got off to a dream start when Lee Maiden broke away and went over to score a try on 7 minutes. Dave Tickton kicked the conversion to make it 0 - 6 to the visitors.
Widnes hit back 5 minutes later with a try from Dave Allen on 12 minutes. Shane Grady missed the conversion to make it 4 - 6.
The Vikings assault continued with two tries in quick succession on 21 & 22 minutes from Lee Doran and Anthony Thackeray. With Shane Grady converting both kicks made it 16 - 6 to the Vikings.
Lee Doran showed his pace as he ran 50 meters upfield to give Widnes good field position. St Judes were unable to hold out and Scott Yates scored a try on 27 minutes to make it 20 - 6. Shane Grady missed the conversion.
The Vikings scored their fifth try of the half on 31 minutes when Dave Houghton went over the line. Shane Grady kicked the conversion to give the Vikings a comfortable 26 - 6 lead at half time.
It only took 1 minute of the second half for Widnes to put points on the board. Shane Grady showed excellent movement to score a try on 41 minutes, but he was unable to make the conversion. Widnes lead 30 - 6.
St Judes were determined to give their loyal travelling support something to shout about. Quick feet from Darley King enabled him to break away and score St Judes second try of the night on 45 minutes. Dave Picton was on target again as he kicked the conversion to make it 30 - 12.
Richard Varkulis and Danny Hulme scored a series of four tries between them within a 20 minute period. Danny Hulme began the onslaught with a try on 48 minutes. Shane Grady added the extra points.
Richard Varkulis scored went over for a Widnes try seven minutes later on 48 minutes. Shane Grady added the extras.
The impressive youngster Danny Hulme got his second try of the night on 59 minutes. Shane Grady completed the conversion.
Varkulis completed the 20 minute onslaught with a try on 68 minutes. Shane Grady missed the conversion but the Vikings lead 52 - 12.
Dave Allen became the third Widnes player of the night to score a double try, when he went scored on 72 minutes. Shane Grady added the extras.
Thomas Coyle finished things off four minutes from time when he scored on 76 minutes. Grady was again on target to kick his eight conversion of the night. Widnes finished the game 64 - 12.
The Widnes Vikings are competing in the 2010 Co-operative Championship. The Co-Operative Championship is a semi-professional rugby league football competition played in the United Kingdom and France, one tier below the first tier Super League.
The two worst performing teams during the season, with the exception of Toulouse Olympique, will be relegated to Championship 1. There is no automatic promotion from this league to Super League, which uses a licensing system which renewed every three years. Qualifying for the Grand Final is a prerequisite for Championship clubs to be able to apply for license in the next round of applications for the 2012–14 period.
The 2010 Co-Operative Championship season will consist of two stages. The regular season is played over 22 round-robin fixtures, in which each of the eleven teams involved in the competition will play each other once at home and once away. In the 2010 Co-Operative Championship, a win is worth three points in the table, a draw is worth one two points apiece, and a loss by 12 points or fewer is worth 1 bonus point.
The league leaders at the end of the regular season will receive the league leaders trophy, but the Championship is decided through the second stage of the season via a playoffs system. The top six teams in the table will contest to play in the Grand Final, the winners of which are crowned 2010 Co-Operative Champions.
|1||28 Feb 2010||15:00||H||Keighley Cougars||W||72 - 10||Stobart Stadium Halton||2,777|
|2||14 Mar 2010||15:00||A||Sheffield Eagles||W||30 - 44||Don Valley Stadium||1,085|
|3||18 Mar 2010||19:30||H||Halifax||L||28 - 30||Stobart Stadium Halton||3,686|
|4||28 Mar 2010||15:00||A||Dewsbury Rams||W||30 - 36||Tetley's Stadium||1,499|
|6||5 Apr 2010||15:00||H||Whitehaven||W||48 - 18||Stobart Stadium Halton||3,033|
|7||10 Apr 2010||18:00||H||Toulouse Olympique||L||36 - 42||Stobart Stadium Halton||2,793|
|8||25 Apr 2010||15:00||A||Batley Bulldogs||W||24 - 32||Mount Pleasant||1,046|
|9||30 Apr 2010||20:00||H||Featherstone Rovers||L||8 - 9||Stobart Stadium Halton||3,448|
|7||South Wales Scorpions||2||0||0||2||28||62||−34||1||1|
|Teams qualifying for the Play-offs|
|Teams in relegation position|
This table is correct as of 20 March2010 (7:04pm). Source: 
Classification: 1st on competition points; 2nd on match points difference.
Competition points: For win = 3; For draw = 2; For loss by 12 points or fewer = 1.
Round 1: vs. Keighley
|Round 1: Widnes Vikings vs. Keighley Cougars|
Round 2: vs. Sheffield
|Round 2: Sheffield Eagles vs. Widnes Vikings|
Round 3: vs. Halifax
|Round 3: Widnes Vikings vs. Halifax|
Round 4: vs. Dewsbury
|Round 4: Dewsbury Rams vs. Widnes Vikings|
Round 6: vs. Whitehaven
|Round 6: Widnes Vikings vs. Whitehaven|
Round 7: vs. Toulouse
|Round 7: Widnes Vikings vs. Toulouse Olympique|
Round 8: vs. Batley
|Round 8: Batley Bulldogs vs. Widnes Vikings|
Round 9: vs. Featherstone
|Round 9: Widnes Vikings vs. Featherstone Rovers|
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