Rugby League: Wilson inspires a points burst that makes Widnes' work over his permit worthwhile

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The Independent Online
Widnes 48

Oldham 8

The days when Widnes scoured the rugby world to find the sort of players to take them to Wembley on a regular basis might be a fading memory, but they can still come up with the occasional winner.

Shane Wilson looked firmly that category in his first competitive match for the club. The former South Sydney centre's passing skills were the biggest factor in Widnes taking a match-winning lead in this Silk Cup Challenge Cup third-round tie and by the time he took a rest 12 minutes into the second half they were as good as in the hat for tonight's draw.

Wilson, the subject a good deal of red tape and toing and froing to get the work permit that enables him to play here, supplied the ball for Widnes' first three tries, two of them to his Toby jug-shaped fellow countryman Kyle White, and one from the South African Jamie Bloem.

Oldham had started brightly enough, taking a lead with an early penalty from Brian Quinlan, but they never again competed convincingly after that 10 minute burst of scoring.

Widnes' new full-back Jim Salisbury, took Bloem's pass to score immediately before half-time and after it there was virtual one way traffic as Bloem and Salisbury added a second with Jason Hunter, Lee Ashton and James Briers completing a comfortable victory.

Another import, the New Zealander Paul Howell, took the eye at stand- off with some shrewd distribution as well as his goal-kicking.

A measure of optimism is returning to Widnes after some depressing years. They look to have the makings of a competitive side and an attendance at their fine new stadium big enough to delay the kick-off can only be an encouragement to them.

Oldham managed a late try from John Hough, but dropped the ball far too often to give themselves even a chance of escaping lightly. On this showing they should be relieved to be playing in the Second Division this season rather than against Widnes and their like.

Widnes: Salisbury; Cross, Bloem, Wilson, Smith; Howell, Emmery; Makin, Ashton, Measures, O'Neill, White, Manihera. Substitutes used: Litherland, Hunter, Briers, Cunningham.

Oldham: Wilde; Diggle, Meade, Cooper, McNicholas; Barker, Flanagan; Round, Hough, Maders, Quinlan, Shaw, Martindale. Substitutes used: Robinson, Eckersley, Clegg, Fleming.

Referee: S Nicholson (Huddersfield).

l Two amateur clubs progressed into the fourth round of the cup at the expense of professional sides yesterday. Ellenbrough won 16-10 at Bramley, and Featherstone Lions beat Doncaster 23-18.

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