WIDNES Vikings captain Jack Owens and Kenny Baker have signed new one-year deals for 2021.

Ditton-born full-back Owens is looking forward to the day he can lead his beloved Black and Whites back out on the field.

“It’s great to have agreed a new deal with the club, it was a no-brainer for me," said Owens, who became the first Widnes-born captain of the club since 2006 for the start of a 2020 season which was ultimately cancelled in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve spoken a lot in the past about how much this club means to me, so I’m made up to still have the opportunity to wear these colours.

"It’s always a proud moment for me and my family when I walk out and play for the Vikings, so I’m looking forward to doing it again in 2021.

“It was a huge honour to have been named captain, especially as it came from a vote within the playing squad, it’s just a shame the season ended so early. It was a great feeling walking the lads out though, and I’m looking forward to that again next season.

“We’re obviously disappointed as a group that the season went the way it did, and it has been frustrating to be without rugby league for so long, but ultimately it was the right decision in terms of keeping everyone safe through a difficult period."

He is grateful to have been able to stay occupied since March.

“I have just taken this time away to stay on top of my fitness, and luckily my work outside of rugby league at PBS Joinery has kept me occupied and busy each week.

"Without that I probably would have struggled, but I’m looking forward to eventually getting back out there on the pitch.

“All of the players have seen the messages from the supporters on social media, and even through this tough time their support has been brilliant. Our aim now is to get back out there in front of them as soon as it is safe to do so, and repay them all for their faith in us as players and a club as a whole.”

Owens is a product of the club’s Academy has progressed through every stage of the pathway up to the first team, gaining international honours with England Academy along the way.

He made his debut at the age of 16 against Siddal in the Challenge Cup, becoming the seventh youngest player to appear for Widnes in the club’s history.

After five seasons in the first team squad, the 25-year old spent time away from the club with St Helens, Sheffield Eagles and Leigh Centurions before eventually returning to Vikings for the 2019 season.

He played a pivotal role for the club on his return, scoring 18 tries in his 30 appearances, finishing the year with 280 points on his way to claiming the Fans’ Player of the Year award.

To date, Owens has featured 103 times for the club, scoring 52 tries and kicking 256 goals to amass 720 points, placing him 11th in Widnes’ all-time point scoring list.

Vikings had help in ensuring Owens remained with the club.

Jason Shaw, Founder of Vikings Quids In (VIQI), added: “VIQI is delighted to be supporting the re-signing of Jack Owens.

“Jack is a Widnes lad and epitomises everything great about our club. It is crucial that the VIQI members' contributions are used to support the recruitment and retention of players like Jack.

“Having experienced high calibre players such as Jack committing his future to the club for a further season is absolutely fantastic, and we are sure that our members will be delighted that they have played their part, once again, in securing Jacks services for the coming season.”

Meanwhile, Baker had become a fan favourite at the DCBL Stadium with his performances in the pack.

The loose forward, who has also featured in the front row, racked up three tries in his seven appearances for Vikings – including a try on his home debut against Batley Bulldogs.

The 28-year-old joined Widnes after an impressive four-season spell with North Wales Crusaders where he was captain last year.

“First of all I would like to thank the fans and everyone at the club for being so welcoming and supportive since I arrived," said Baker.

“With everything that has happened this year I feel like I owed at least another year to the supporters and everyone at the club, to try and help them get back to where they belong in Super League.

“It feels great to have got this deal over the line, and now my focus is on getting myself ready for when we’re eventually back out there on the field.

“It has been a great challenge for me personally, stepping up to play in the Championship, and I am hoping I can pick up where I left off once we’re back up and running in 2021.

“We all can’t wait to get back out there in front of the supporters, once it is safe to do so, and I’m excited to put on the Black and White shirt again next season.”