Devereux delivers for Widnes

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The Independent Online
Rugby League

DAVE HADFIELD

Widnes 32 Oldham 8

John Devereux shone like the last piece of the family silver for long enough for Widnes to recover some of their old cup fighting sparkle to account for an Oldham team a division above them but several grades below on the day.

Devereux's two first-half tries set Widnes on their way to a convincing win in this Regal Trophy tie. Such is Oldham's current disarray, with almost a whole team injured and the future of their coach, Andy Goodway, clouded by speculation that he may coach Paris in the Super League, that only the margin was a surprise.

Devereux, sought by Warrington as a replacement for Jonathan Davies, showed that he remains a player of the highest class with a try on each wing to put Widnes in a strong position.

That position was made even more secure when Chris Parr, the worst offender in a side woefully lacking in discipline, was sent off for a high tackle on Andy Platt.

Even though an uninformed observer asked to identify which side was destined for the Super League might have guessed at neither of them, Oldham now presented even more gaps to be exploited - and Widnes did so in the second half.

Their other notable success was Steve McCurrie, unkindly dubbed McBlobby after his larger than life appearance for England in the World Cup but looking sharp enough yesterday. He scored his first try after a run by Stuart Spruce had stretched Oldham's defence, taking Paul Hulme's pass to go over.

Hulme then crossed himself, charging on to the sort of delayed pass that Shane Cooper made his trademark during his days at St Helens. Cooper produced another expert ball to send McCurrie in for his second, with Chris Tyrer's six goals completing the Widnes scoring.

Oldham did manage a try from Scott Ranson and a second goal from Steve Gartland in the last minutes, but that could not disguise their lack of ideas.

Maybe they just preferred playing 11-a-side, because by then Devereux and his former Widnes team-mate, Paul Davidson, were in the sin-bin after a bout of horizontal boxing, and Widnes had taken off David Hulme without bothering to replace him.

That was a measure of their comfort against opponents who are looking increasingly out of place as a top-flight side.

Widnes: Ruane; Devereux, Thorniley, Wright, Spruce; Tyrer, Cooper; Makin (Hansen, 23), P Gartland, Platt (Smith, 61), P Hulme, McCurrie, D Hulme.

Oldham: Cowans; Ranson, Leuila, Abram, Belle; Gibson (Green, 23, Gibson, 63), Crompton; Parr, S Gartland, Temu (Sherratt, 53), Lord, Davidson, Hill.

Referee: A Bates ( Workington).

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