Wild captain Danny Bullock (#10) in action for Widnes (Photo by Geoff White)
Sunday 13th October 2019: YKK Widnes Wild 3 – Solihull Barons 9 (NIHL Midland Cup)
The YKK-sponsored Widnes Wild put in a solid performance against higher league opposition Solihull Barons in the EIHA Midland Cup but ended up on the wrong end of a 3 – 9 scoreline at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
The Wild are taking part in the Midland Cup this season as part of Head Coach Mike Clancy’s 3-year plan to build a Widnes team that is capable of competing at a higher level on a regular basis. As such, the aim this season is to use these games is to gauge the difference in levels of competition between the two divisions – and Sunday’s game will have given Coach Clancy lots of positives to work from.
The game started badly for the Wild with the Barons taking the lead after just 55 seconds and then doubling the advantage 27 seconds after that. Luckily, any fears of a rout were quashed when Widnes pulled a goal back with a power play strike from Ryan Kemp on 9 minutes but the Barons edged further ahead again on 14 minutes.
Bearing in mind how the period had begun, a 1 – 3 score line at the first break would have been quite a creditable achievement for the Wild but, unfortunately, Solihull scored again with just 22 seconds left to play and, at 1 – 4, it left Widnes with a little bit more to chase.
The second period was enthralling to watch as both teams closed down at the back and the spectators were treated with flowing end-to-end hockey. Just as it looked as if it was going to be a goal-less period, the Barons struck again in the dying seconds with a power play goal and were able to take a 1 – 5 lead into the second break.
Two more goals for the Barons in the third period put the game well beyond Widnes’s reach but a plucky late rally saw home strikes from Bez Hughes and Jakub Hajek that helped to give the score some extra respectability. Two more goals for Solihull rounded off a frenetic final 5 minutes of the game and overall both sides would probably be generally satisfied with the resulting 3 – 9 scoreline.
The final period saw the Wild outshoot the Barons by 15 to 11 and in the game as a whole, they actually out-shot the visitors by 38 to 37, so, setting aside the final score, it was otherwise a fairly well-balanced and entertaining encounter to watch.
The YKK-sponsored Widnes Wild are in action at home again next Sunday 20th October when they face more Moralee Division competition in the shape of Sutton Sting, also in the Midland Cup. Sutton are joint top of the Midland Cup qualifying group with 2 wins from their 2 games, along with Solihull, and are likely to provide another strong challenge for the Wild. Face Off is at 5.30 p.m. and doors open at 4.45 p.m.
Sunday 13th October 2019: Solihull Under 18s 13 – Wild Academy Under 18s 2
The Wild Academy Under 18 team lost 13 – 2 away to the Solihull Barons U18s Team on Sunday.
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 match 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 and are, therefore, still very much a “work in progress..”.
In the game on Sunday, the hosts took the lead after just 11 seconds and were 5 – 0 up before Wild team captain Sam Anderson scored the first Widnes goal of the game on 19 minutes. The game was strewn with penalty calls, which affected the Wild more than Solihull and the Barons added 5 more goals during the second period. They added a further 3 goals in the third period before Sam Anderson scored the second Widnes goal with just 55 seconds left on the clock.
The Wild Under 18s currently prop up the Under 18 North Division 3 league table with 1 point from their 5 league games to date. However, Sam Anderson is the league’s top scorer with 9 goals and 2 assists.
They are next in action away to Nottingham Under 18s this Saturday 19th October – 5.40 pm face off. Nottingham are a bit of an unknown quantity this season as they have only played 1 League game so far, beating Deeside Dragons Under 18 Team 7 – 1, but trips to Nottingham are always a challenge and this will be another tough test for the Wild youngsters in their debut season.