|Rhys Edwards scored a hat trick in the Wild Cup win away at Deeside – photo by Steve Cunningham
Saturday 3rd February – M56 Cup: Deeside Dragons 1 – Widnes Wild 4
The Widnes Wild NIHL team had a mixed weekend, winning 1-4 away to Deeside Dragons in the M56 Cup on Saturday and then lost losing 7-0 away to table toppers Billingham Stars in the league on Sunday.
The Cup game on Saturday was a robustly fought encounter - as is usually the case with Widnes v Deeside local derby games - and was strewn with penalties throughout.
Deeside took the lead on 12 minutes but Nathan Britton equalised two minutes later for the Wild and the score remained 1-1 at the first period break.
Widnes edged into the lead on 25 minutes when Rhys Edwards capitalised on a breakaway and the same player made it 1-3 three minutes later with a shorthanded goal while Damarni James and Will Harper were both sitting out 5 minute fighting penalties.
A hat-trick goal followed for Edwards on 32 minutes and Widnes looked very much in control of the match. Deeside had their own chances but these were competently dealt with by Phil Pearson in the Wild goal and the score remained 1-4 at the second break.
Widnes eased their foot off the gas in the third period – possibly with half an eye on their away trip to league leaders Billingham Stars the next day – and the game finished in a 1-4 victory.
The win sees the Wild level on points with Blackburn at the top of the M56 Cup table with two wins each.
Blackburn saw their points tally double without hitting a puck in anger after they were awarded their home tie against Deeside as a 5-0 win after the Dragons refused to travel to East Lancashire following an unsavoury incident in a previous game.
Widnes have already lost 5-7 at home to the Hawks in this competition and will need to win by a higher margin in the return fixture on 17th February if they are to have any chance of winning the trophy.
The final group game between Deeside and Blackburn – which is scheduled for 9th March, should it, indeed, go ahead… - would then decide the outcome of the competition.