Match preview: Widnes Vikings v Keighley Cougars

The first of the four Tetley’s Challenge Cup quarter-finals takes place this evening, as the lowest ranked team left in the competition, Keighley Cougars, head to Widnes to face Denis Betts’ Vikings outfit.

Keighley coach Paul March – who is still serving a two-month stadium ban – has indicated that he will send a very different Cougars side to the Select Security Stadium. given how they are back in action on Tuesday against Whitehaven, the game that has had to be re-arranged thanks to this cup tie.

Denis Betts is still without captain and hooker Jon Clarke, who is missing through injury. Paddy Flynn will serve the second and final game of his suspension for his part in a brawl with Castleford’s Justin Carney.

The Squads
Widnes Vikings:
Allen, Brown, Clough, Craven, Dean, Galea, Gerrard, Gilmore, Hanbury, Hulme, Isa, Johnson, Kavanagh, Lawton, Leuluai, Marsh, Owens, Tickle, White.

Keighley Cougars: J. Sheriffe, Barnett, Williams, Graham, Duffy, Kelly, Stead, Law, Lee, Peltier, Eccleston, Pursglove, Sagar, Haigh, Patchett, Cherryholme, Lynam, Hesketh, J. Sheriffe.

The Stats
Widnes have not lost a Challenge Cup tie against Keighley in 46 years, having last tasted defeat in 1968 (15-5, Round 2).

Danny Tickle needs three tries to reach a career century of touchdowns. His total of 97 has been scored as follows: 10 for Halifax (2000-2002), 34 for Wigan (2002-2006), 47 for Hull FC (2007-2013), 1 for Widnes (2014), 1 for England (2012) and 4 for England ‘A’ (2002-2003).

Richie Barnett needs three tries to reach a career century of touchdowns. His total of 97 has been scored as follows: 12 for Gateshead (2002-2003), 22 for Hull FC (2004-2005), 2 for Widnes (2005, loan), 18 for Warrington (2006-2007), 4 for Salford (2007), 5 for Sheffield (2010), 6 for Hunslet (2011), 27 for current club Keighley (2012-2014) and 1 for the National League Two representative side (2003).

Previous Challenge Cup meetings:
1999 (Round 4) Widnes 28 Keighley 20
1988 (Round 2) Keighley 2 Widnes 16
1968 (Round 2) Widnes 5 Keighley 15
1951 (Round 1, First Leg) Widnes 8 Keighley 3
1951 (Round 1, Second Leg) Keighley 6 Widnes 0
1937 (FINAL) Keighley 5 Widnes 18 (at Wembley Stadium)

The Prediction
With Keighley resting a number of key players including half-back Paul Handforth, the Vikings should be far too strong for their Championship opponents on this occasion.

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