Sun 25 Feb 2018 10:22 AM

Sat 24 Feb 2018, 14:15

Widnes may have lost this re-arranged SLC1 fixture at Houghend, but they can still take great pride in their performance against probably the best side in the division and favourites for promotion.

And, although they were second best in this one, Lee McDermott’s young side never once took a backward step or rolled over against a side who have been in peerless form this season.

The result extends Park’s lead at the top to six points ahead of Liverpool St Helens, whilst Widnes remain unchanged in eighth behind Leigh and Tyldesley with a game in hand.

Conditions for the game were almost perfect for rugby with plenty of bright sunshine, although there was a freezing cold wind blowing across the pitch.

Widnes got the game underway, but it was Park who had first chance as outstanding fullback Telford cut through from deep only for the chance to be missed.

As the early stages of the game progressed, the Park forwards began to dominate, and after being held up over the line, the Wids defensive line finally cracked as O’Donnell crashed over for the opening try.

Helped by a series of penalties, Widnes then had an attacking spell close to the Park line, but they were unable to breach an impenetrable wall of black and white defenders. Ultimately, that would cost them dearly just a few moments later, as Park broke free for Telford to feed wing man Titeloye who scored to double his side’s advantage.

After 28 minutes, the Wids defence was breached again, this time as fullback Telford was finally rewarded with his team’s third try along with a 15 – nil advantage.

With Park seemingly in the ascendancy now, they then missed another try-scoring opportunity, before Number 8 Noone put things right as he picked up from the base of a scrum close to the Widnes line to score the bonus point try.

With moments to go, Andy Owens then launched a fine individual counter-attack from distance before hacking the ball downfield which wasn’t dealt with effectively by the Park defence allowing Josh Paton to follow up and touch down for his first try in senior colours.

If the visitors had ambitions to claw back the deficit and rescue something from the game, then they needed to start the second half well, and they did just that as Andy Owens converted a long-range penalty to make the score 20pts – 8.

For a while then, their new found enthusiasm saw them really pile on the pressure, but Park were soon able to regather their thoughts before making their way up field to add another try after taking a scrum against the head deep in Widnes territory.

From there, there was going to be no way back for the red and blacks, and by the hour mark, the score had been increased to a wider margin of 32pts – 8 thanks to another home score.

After that, and with the result assured, the latter part of the game was all a bit scrappy although there was still time for stand-off Hodkinson to weave and sidestep his way over the line for the game’s final score of the afternoon.

There was still time for Kieron Arndell to make a long-range break for the visitors, but this was quickly offset by a Widnes player beyond the touchline for a spell in the sin-bin late on in the piece.

Overall, though the game was lost, the coaching staff can be nothing other than delighted with the performance and progress of their team. They have continued to put their faith in the new young breed through the likes of Jamie Patient and Tom O’Neill who were both outstanding in the game along with other youngsters Andy Owens, Matty Walker and now more latterly Will Patient who was making his debut from the bench after stepping up from the Colts.

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