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Widnes Vikings show Super League what they will be missing

A 4,000-plus crowd, a rousing half-time speech from chairman Steve O'Connor and an astonishing individual try by Gavin Dodd showed there is still plenty of life in the Vikings despite this week's disappointment over the Super League licence decision.

Widnes ran in seven tries in total and were barely threatened at the other end to record a very comfortable win.

But it was the address at half-time from Steve O'Connor and Halton Council leader Cllr Tony McDermott that did most to cheer the fans as they reflected on the RFL's decision to omit Widnes for next season's Super League campaign, and promised to come back stronger than ever in three years.

After a standing ovation, Mr O'Connor told supporters: "Over the next three years I'm determined to stay, I'm determined to make something happen. Furthermore, it is our intention - whether we're the only club in National League - but we will be operating as a full time operation. By the time we make it to Super League, we will have learnt how to be successful, how to understand the quality of our success and I'd be really pleased if you'll all come along with me."

Widnes couldn't have asked for a better start than opening the score in the second minute with a try from Dean Gaskell who fastened on to John DuffLee's long pass to race over and give Steve Tyrer an easier angle for his first successful conversion.

Ten minutes later the lead was doubled when man-of-the-match Iain Morrison picked a great line and Bob Beswick found him with a short pass to crash over. Tyrer converted.
It was 18-0 after 27 minutes in almost identical fashion but this time it was Fletcher who came on to Beswick's pass for the try and Tyrer added the extras.

On the half-hour Tyrer added a try to his goalkicking when he safely collected Matty Smith's cross kick to score in the corner. He then banged over the touchline goal for good measure.

And just before half-time Widnes went 28-0 up when Paddy Flynn profited from good interplay between Paterson and Tyrer.

The second half was a stop-start affair with Widnes looking like they had taken their foot off the gas somewhat, and the warm conditions taking their toll on the players.

Jim Gannon stretched over to increase the lead after 56 minutes with a try that Tyrer improved, and ten minutes from time, Gavin Dodd added a score that will be talked about for a very long time.

Taking a quick tap on the 20 metre line after the ball had gone dead, he beat the initial cover, got away from two defenders close to the touchline, cut back inside, beat more men infield, shrugged off a couple of tackles, straightened up and had enough strength and pace to make the line. Tyrer added the goal and Widnes were done at 40-0.

Coach Steve McCormack said: "Steve O'Connor said that Gavin Dodd try was what this club is all about - never give up. "It's been an emotional week, but I'm proud of the way the players have reacted."



Tries: Gaskell, Morrison, Fletcher, Tyrer, Flynn, Gannon, Dodd.
Goals: Tyrer (6)

Vikings: Hardman, Gaskell, Tyrer, Dean, Flynn; Duffy, Smith; Morrison, Beswick, Gannon, Strong, Noone, Paterson. Subs: Dodd, Fletcher, Morton, Ostick.



Tries: None
Goals: None

Rams: Lingard, Powell, Epati, Bostock, Buchanan; Weedon, Tillotson; Trinder, Finn, Maloney, Glassie, Charles, Crawley. Subs: Glynn, Haigh, Rourke, Walker.

Att: 4,082
Referee: Mr G Hewer.

Widnes Vikings Chairman Steve O'Connor received a standing ovation from fans at Stobart Stadium Halton today when he vowed to stay and continue his campaign to bring Super League rugby to the town.
Flanked by his management team, who joined him on the pitch at half-time during the National League One fixture against Dewsbury Rams, Mr O'Connor pledged to retain a full-time operation at Vikings over the next three years as they mount a new licence challenge for 2012.

He told cheering supporters: "Over the next three years I'm determined to stay, I'm determined to make something happen. Furthermore, it is our intention - whether we're the only club in National League - but we will be operating as a full time operation. By the time we make it to Super League, we will have learnt how to be successful, how to understand the quality of our success and I'd be really pleased if you'll all come along with me."

Earlier Mr O'Connor told fans that some may have interpreted his diplomatic response to the disappointment of losing out on a Super League licence as not caring but he said he had experienced all the same emotions that the supporters had.

Although he had experienced sadness, anger and bitterness Mr O'Connor said it was important to reach acceptance.

"I didn't sleep from Tuesday to Friday. I was still up for fighting on Thursday night and had a plan for retribution, bargaining - all the emotions people are feeling. I woke up Friday and decided that any time, effort and money should be spent on rebuilding the club from the bottom up. With that in mind we went to Rugby League to meet the decision makers with a view to developing a new relationship," he said.

Mr O'Connor added: "If we want to get along and want to see Super League here there has to be a meeting of minds. By the time we left Rugby League, I genuinely believe and so do the people with me that the Rugby League have a different perception of Widnes from Friday afternoon than they did on Friday morning."

He said he did not believe the Rugby League was ready for the backlash they had received over their decision and the amount of fantastic support Vikings received in the media and from other rugby league teams


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