Varkulis all set for Blackpool repeat


Mention the Northern Rail Cup Final to Widnes VikingsRichard Varkulis and you’ll almost certainly see a beaming smile take shape.

The 28-year-old centre or second row touched down in the final seconds of last year’s final to put the seal on a 34-18 victory over Barrow Raiders and is looking for more of the same as Widnes seek to retain the trophy when they take on Batley Bulldogs in this season’s final at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool on Sunday (4.00pm).

“It’s great to score a try like that especially when you know you’ve won the game,” explained Varkulis. “I still remember the gap opening up and just deciding to go for it. It was like the icing on the cake after a very tough clash.

“Saying that most of that game is a blur but the first 20 minutes was very physical with Barrow getting into us at every opportunity. It was the wrong tactic when you have seasoned warriors like Jim Gannon in your side and the game gradually slipped away from them as a result.

“We seemed to have too much guile and creativity in the side but Sunday will be a completely different match and we’ll pay Batley the utmost respect before the whistle blows for kick off.

“The Northern Rail Cup is one of our priorities this season and we all know how it will help the club’s desire to return to Super League but that won’t register in our planning.

“Their strengths have been well documented and we’ll be thoroughly prepared but I’d settle for a repeat showing.”

Varkulis started out as an amateur with Leigh Miners and signed for Warrington in 2003 after completing his education and is qualified to represent both Lithuania, were they to enter the Rugby League fraternity, and Ireland.

“My current coach Paul Cullen was in charge when I joined the Wolves but my opportunities were limited so I moved on to Rochdale and then Halifax before ending up at the Stobart Stadium,” he explained.