Rugby League: Widnes nearer to survival deal

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(First Edition)

DEBT-RIDDEN Widnes are close to agreeing a survival package of pay cuts with their players, writes Dave Hadfield. The club's chairman, Jim Mills, said that a meeting to discuss changes to existing contracts this week had produced a positive reaction from the players.

'They have been very good and we are close to an agreement,' he said. 'The players realise that the club is fighting for its survival.'

At a separate meeting, the members have been told that they will have the final say on whether the club should become a limited company, in common with most other sides in the League.

Kurt Sorensen is rested from the Widnes pack for tonight's match against the league leaders, St Helens. Harvey Howard will replace him, but the captain, Paul Hulme, hopes to play, despite ripping an ear at Sheffield last Sunday.

Joe Lydon comes in on the right wing for Wigan at Hull tonight in place of Jason Robinson, who plays at scrum-half for Great Britain in an Under-21 international against France at Rochdale, partnering Nigel Wright, of Wakefield, in a half-back combination which will be watched carefully for its potential.

The Great Britain coach, Malcolm Reilly, who has put two of the country's brightest young talents together for the first time, has another appointment on Friday when he has been asked to explain to police an altercation with an amateur rugby league player in the car park at Halifax's Thrum Hall ground last Saturday.

Oldham last night completed the signing, on a two-year contract, of the England rugby union winger, Nigel Heslop. He goes straight into the side to play Carlisle on Sunday. Oldham's other recent capture from Orrell, Martin Strett, is also expected to be in the squad.