Widnes march on to quarter finals

Just two games survived the weather on the fourth weekend of the Northern Rail Cup.

Holders Widnes completed the group stage unbeaten with a routine 36-12 win over Swinton in wintry conditions at Park Lane. The Vikings fell behind to an early try but hit back through Matt Gardner and Shane Grady. The Lions, to their credit, made a game of it in the first half, but a moment of opportunism by winger Shaun Ainscough near half time gave Widnes the breathing space they needed.

Paul Cullen’s side put in a professional performance in blizzard-like conditions in the second half to keep out their Championship 1 opponents, while adding 16 more points themselves, the pick of the bunch a well taken Mark Smith try after a powerful break by prop Gareth Haggerty.

Whitehaven ended a disappointing Northern Rail Cup campaign with a surprise defeat at local rivals Workington. Town led 4-0 after a tight first half, through two penalties, but a Graeme Mattinson score put Whitehaven in front at the break. But in a topsy turvy second half, Workington came out on top in a miserable return to Derwent Park for Haven’s former Town boss Ged Stokes.

After the game, Stokes played down his disappointment, saying: “I thought that the defensive effort of our forward pack was outstanding.”

The postponed games today mean that the qualifiers for the quarter finals remain uncertain, with only Widnes confirmed in the final eight so far.

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