Challenge Cup - Castleford 28 Widnes 6: Widnes admit shame at 'sickening' scenes after crowd trouble overshadows semi-final

Crowd trouble marred the Leigh Sports Village semi-final encounter

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The Independent Online

Widnes have spoken of their shame after "sickening" crowd trouble erupted following their Tetley's Challenge Cup semi-final loss to Castleford.

The club have vowed to investigate the violent pitch invasion which occurred immediately after the Vikings were beaten 28-6 in a televised clash at Leigh Sports Village.

Fans from the Widnes end ran onto the pitch after the game and approached rival supporters in a provocative manner.

Castleford supporters appeared not to respond to any goading but violence did break out as police and stewards attempted to restore order.

Many pictures of the trouble have emerged via social media, including one of the head being removed from one of Castleford's tiger mascots and kicked away.

One female spectator suffered a sprained ankle after being caught up in the chaos, the Rugby Football League confirmed.

Widnes chief executive James Rule said: "It's sickening to see such shameful scenes perpetrated by a minority of 'supporters'.

"We will now work closely with RFL and police and carry out a full investigation.

"The club's recruitment drive for next season has been put on hold until such time that we can establish the full cost to the club for today's actions.

"We will work fully with the RFL and the BBC to identify each and every individual that brought shame to the good name of our club."

The RFL is awaiting reports from all relevant parties before deciding on its course of action but the governing body's chief executive Nigel Wood also spoke out.

Wood said: "The sport has every right to be disappointed with the behaviour of a minority of Widnes fans. We will work with the clubs to identify any supporters who encroached onto the pitch. There is no place for such behaviour in rugby league."

The match had attracted a sell-out 12,005 crowd and had mostly been played in a good atmosphere, despite appalling weather.

Castleford asserted their grip early with tries in the opening nine minutes from Liam Finn and Daryl Clark. Further scores from Kirk Dixon, Jamie Ellis and Jake Webster put the result beyond doubt while Widnes could muster just one consolation effort from Jack Owens.

The victory earned Castleford a first trip to Wembley since 1992 and a final date with their West Yorkshire rivals Leeds.

Tigers coach Daryl Powell said: "I thought we were very good, really composed. We started superbly and there was a real focus about the boys.

"To score early gives you a great opportunity to settle down. That was a really good effort against a team that can cause you a lot of trouble. It was a quality 80 minutes."

Powell was a member of the last Leeds side to win the Challenge Cup in 1999 and later coached the Rhinos in a final.

He said: "It's pretty special for me. They're a good side and will take some beating but we were excellent against them the other week and have got to feel confident whoever we are playing against."