WIDNES Wild put in a battling performance in the NIHL Midland Cup against higher division Blackburn Hawks on Sunday but came back from east Lancashire on the wrong end of a 6-1 scoreline.

Playing against a team from a division higher is always difficult, due to the fact that the gap between the leagues is acknowledged as being very wide in terms of team budgets and playing standards and the Wild were particularly hampered this weekend by the absence of seven players through injury and other reasons.

It took six minutes for the Hawks to break through a stubborn Widnes defence and a second goal just two minutes later left the travelling Widnes contingent fearing the worst.

A goal just three minutes into the second period edged the Hawks further ahead but then the Wild’s Shaun Dippnall fired in a goal for Widnes, which gave the visitors some hope of a fight back.

But Blackburn rattled in three more.

In view of the fact that the Wild had neither of their imported players available for the game, this was a very plucky performance and many positives can be taken.

The MVP award for Widnes went to netminder Phil Pearson, who put in a gritty and determined performance in goal and whose heroics certainly contributed to keeping the score down.

Wild are away to Sheffield Senators this Saturday 28 September at Ice Sheffield, face off 3.30 pm.

They are then at home the following night Sunday 29 September when they entertain Nottingham Lions in the Midland Cup at Planet Ice Widnes.

Face Off is at 5.30 p.m. and doors open at 4.45 p.m.

Widnes Wild Women’s Team 8 – Solway Sharks Ladies 8 (Challenge Match)

The Widnes Wild women’s team played their first home game of the new season in a challenge match with Solway Sharks Ladies, which ended in a thrilling 8 – 8 draw at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.

Having drawn 7 – 7 against the Sharks’ Team last season and won 6 – 10 in another Challenge game back in August, this game always looked likely to be full of goals and that is exactly what happened.

Kat Garner opened the scoring for the Wild after just two minutes – her first ever goal for the team – but two strikes from Solway’s Kimberly Breingan on 4 and 10 minutes edged the Sharks ahead. A short-handed goal from Wild Captain Emma Pearson just 70 seconds later levelled the score at 2 – 2 and then Jemma Brown fired the home side into the lead with her first ever Widnes goal, with just 10 seconds left in the period.

The second period was even more eventful, as Breingan equalised for the Sharks in the 25th minute and Katie Fairclough scored for the Wild Women just two minutes later to restore the lead. A brace from Breingan within 20 seconds of each other around the midway point of the game, edged Solway 4 – 5 ahead and then a goal from the Wild’s Catherine Bowen-Fell just 24 seconds later, levelled the score again. A second goal for Emma Pearson and a first strike of the game for Sav Sumner gave the Wild a 2 goal cushion but Solway Captain Karen Craig halved the deficit with just 45 seconds to go in the period and the score stood at 7 – 6 after 40 minutes of play.

The third period, while not quite the “goal fest” that the second had been, was similarly exciting. Sav Sumner scored her second goal of the game on 51 minutes, handing the Wild Women a 2 goal lead. The Solway team upped the pressure in the closing stages and Karen Craig pulled them back into contention with a goal with 90 seconds left on the clock. The Wild Women found themselves on the back foot, as they desperately tried to defend their one goal lead but were caught out with a goal from the Sharks’ Michelle Croucher with just 40 seconds left.

Widnes had a couple of chances right at the end but were unable to make the late pressure count and the match finished in a highly creditable 8 – 8 draw.

Despite the intensity of the game, there were only 4 minutes of penalties handed out for minor infringements and the Sharks Ladies went through the whole game penalty free.

The game saw the launch of the Edith Smith Memorial Trophy for the MVP Awards for the season. Edith Smith was Britain’s first ever Warranted Woman Police Officer. Born in Oxton, Wirral, Edith was buried in St. Mary’s Churchyard in Halton. Inspector Victoria Holden and Superintendent Louise Harrison from Merseyside Police presented the match puck at the start of the game and Wirral Historian Bob Knowles presented the MVP Awards at the end. Catherine Bowen-Fell was named player of the match for the Wild, while Kimberly Breingan picked up the accolade for the Sharks, after her 5 goal haul.

The Widnes Wild Women’s team are next in action on Sunday, 6th October 2019, when they take on the Sheffield Shadows in their first league game of the season at Planet Ice Widnes.

Widnes Scoring: Emma Pearson 2 + 1, Sav Sumner 2 + 1, Jemma Brown, Catherine Bowen-Fell, both 1 + 1, Katie Fairclough 1 + 0, Kat Garner 1 + 0, Emma Martin 0 + 1, Vickie Venables 0 + 1.

Wild Academy Under 18s 5 – Solihull U18s 10 (Under 18 League North 2)

The brand new Wild Academy Under 18s team played their first ever home game, losing 5 – 10 to a highly experienced Solihull Under 18s team, on Saturday at Planet Ice, Widnes.

Many of the Solihull players have already been playing together for a number of years and several also “play up” for Under 20s teams as well, so this was always going to be a bit of a struggle for the Wild Academy Under 18 side who have only been training together since August.

The game was keenly contested by both sides and it took until 10 minutes into the game before the deadlock was broken. Solihull scored the opening goal and then doubled the advantage two minutes later, before the Wild’s Captain Sam Anderson pulled a goal back for Widnes. Unfortunately, two more goals for the visitors handed them a 1 – 4 lead at the first break and 2 unanswered goals in the second period saw them leading 1 – 6 after 40 minutes of play.

Two quick-fire goals just sixteen seconds apart at the start of the third period, gave Solihull an unassailable 1 – 8 lead, but a second strike for Anderson and then a debut goal by David Geroc, gave the home fans something to cheer about.

The two sides traded goals in the last five minutes, which gave the game a fittingly entertaining finale, with Anderson scoring his hat-trick goal and then Dylan Jones rounding off the night’s scoring with his first ever Widnes goal.

The Academy Under 18 Team are at home again this Saturday 28th September when they taken on Sutton Under 18s at Planet Ice Widnes – 7.45 p.m. face off.

The Under 9s Team are also in action on Saturday, when they travel to Deeside for a multi-team cross-ice tournament.

Wild Under 18 Scoring: Sam Anderson 3 + 1, David Geroc 1 + 0, Dylan Jones 1 + 0, Luke Mullarkey, Charlie Deacon both 0 + 1.