A FIRST festive derby win against Warrington Wolves in Denis Betts’ time in charge of Widnes Vikings was a bonus to the performance, said the head coach.

He feels that the club’s young guns are set to make team selection difficult for him in 2018.

A number of them caught the eye in the 26-22 victory at the Halton Stadium last night but after having scored all their points without reply in the opening 45 minutes they ended up hanging on to a slender lead at the death.

“In the first half I was encouraged by the defensive effort,” said Betts.

“We looked strong, we looked physical.

“We’re still a pretty young side. I thought Jordan Johnstone was really good and I thought Danny Walker gave us a lot when he came on at number nine.

“When you look at our side a lot of lads have just finished in the 19s last year who we’ve kept on, a couple of under 19s were out there, including a lad who was 17 two days ago and came on for the last 15 minutes.

“It holds well with our youth policy and where we are as a group.

“I had 16 blokes sat in the stand who would probably have made up most of that team playing in the league. They’d all been down to Lloyd White’s wedding yesterday.

“I always intended for the team for this game to be a mixture of lads who have been in for pre-season from day one, giving them a chance to put their name on the wall.

“I thought a lot of lads are going to make it tough for me to pick the side. If they stay fit, stay healthy and keep training as hard as they are then it’s going to be a very tough selection policy that we put in place which is where we always want to be.

“In these games you want to come through without any injuries. The win was a bonus, the zero at half time was another bonus.”

Another to catch the eye was man-of-the-match full-back Olly Ashall, who crossed for two tries.

“We’ve been waiting on Olly all year. It’s taken him a year to recover from a really bad training ground injury to his knee last year,” said Betts.

“The potential’s always been there. He scored a try in this game last year that you’d only see someone like Ellery Hanley score in his day. There were five or six blokes hanging on to him and he pushed through.

“He’s sharp, got assets to his game – he’s really strong under a high ball, he leaves the ground well, he’s brave, he’s competitive, and he’s going to put pressure on selection.

“What we’re after with the likes of Danny Walker, Jordan Johnstone, the Chapelhow boys, Sam Wild, Tom Olbison, iscompetition for places.

“We’ve not got a lot of stars in there but we’ve got some really good players that are now competently competing and will get better.

“That’s where we want to be.”

Watch: Press conference video below