Widnes Vikings almost certainly secured themselves a place in the Super League play-offs tonight at the Select Security Stadium, defeating Wigan 24-10 in front of 6,223 supporters and effectively ending Wigan’s challenge for the League Leaders’ Shield.
Wigan had selected a strong squad, including the returning Michael McIlorum, who had been out for two months with injury, and their coach Shaun Wane had made it clear that he was still chasing top spot in the league, although he was missing Matty Bowen and Joel Tomkins.
But the Vikings shocked their visitors by racing into a 14-0 lead after only 13 minutes, with tries from Patrick Ah Van and Paddy Flynn, with two conversions and a penalty from man of the match Danny Tickle, whose final total was six goals from six attempts.
Ah Van’s touchdown came from a smart pass by Widnes skipper Kevin Brown, while Flynn’s try came from a break by Jon Clarke, who was making his last home appearance before retiring.
Wigan did hit back with two tries of their own before half-time, with Dominic Manfredi scoring their first and then Josh Charnley touching down a Blake Green kick to the corner.
Their supporters were confident that Wigan would take the game in the second half, but in fact they failed to get on the scoresheet again, and it was Widnes who extended their lead when Ah Van scored his second after 43 minutes, with Tickle’s goal giving the Vikings a 12-point lead.
Tickle then added two further penalties as the game, by now being played in heavy rain, slowly slipped away from Wigan, and the Vikings were the deserved winners on the night.
A fuller report and pictures will appear in Monday’s edition of League Express.