Wild 10 – Titans 2

The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild got the new 2021/22 NIHL season off to a winning start with a 10-2 challenge match victory over the Sheffield Titans at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.

It was the first senior game to be played in front of fans at Widnes for 18 months due to the Covid lockdowns and a keen crowd was in attendance to see player coach Richard Haggar’s  new-look Wild team.

Widnes debuts were handed to Tom Brierley, Nathan Parkes-Britton, Vlads Vulkanovs, Joe Wyatt, Chris Wilcox, Evan Cole, Tom Stubley, Cain Taylor, Jack Murray, Liam Charnock and Kieron Furlong  and this game was a good opportunity for them to gel with the returning Wild players before the competitive season starts in earnest next week.

The opposing Titans team are a new outfit who were only formed in the summer as a development side to allow younger players from the Sheffield Academy to gain senior league experience on a regular basis. They have filled the gap left in the lower Laidler Division by the Sheffield Scimitars who have moved up to join the Wild in the Moralee Division this time around.  It was the Titans’ first ever game of any sort and, with the best will in the world, coming up against a team packed with players with NIHL National Division experience, the final result was always likely to be a foregone conclusion.  

The Wild took the lead just 90 seconds into the game with a debut strike from Nathan Parkes-Britton and there then followed a tense phase where Widnes continued to put pressure on the Sheffield goal, without managing any further breakthrough.  The second goal finally came after 16 minutes from Kieran Beach and the score remained at 2-0 at the first period break.

The home side edged further ahead with a goal from Joe Greaves on 26 minutes but they were then caught out with two quick fire goals from the Titans to pull the score back to 3-2.  Jay Robinson buried the puck in the net for the Wild to get them back on track just two minutes later and second strikes for both Beach and Greaves rounded off a highly entertaining 6-goal second period.

The match was well and truly killed off with 4 more Widnes goals in the first 5 minutes of the third period – from Liam Charnock, Mikey Gilbert, Tristan Grimshaw and Richard Haggar.

New Wild netminder Evan Cole replaced Harrison Walker in goal for the final 20 minutes and the game petered out somewhat as Widnes eased off in the latter stages.

The post-match presentations were made by Eleanor Manson-Sawko, Business Development Manager for Halton Haven Hospice – who are the Wild’s chosen charity for the season – and the MVPs went to netminders Harrison Walker and Nicholas Winters for the Wild and Titans respectively.

New Wild Captain for the season Tom Jackson and Alternate Captains Mikey Gilbert and Bez Hughes were also presented with the NIHL North Cup, which the Widnes team had won in the behind closed doors competition earlier in the year.

The Wild face a much sterner test next weekend when they travel to face Blackburn Hawks in the NIHL Midland Cup on Saturday 11th September – 6pm face off.  They are then home in their first Moralee Division league fixture of the season the following night against reigning champions Whitley Warriors.  Doors open at 4.45pm and face off is at 5.30.     


Match Details:

  • Sunday 5th September 2012 – Challenge Match
  • YKK Widnes Wild 10 – Sheffield Titans 2
  • Period Scores: 2-0, 4-2, 4-0
  • Shots On Goal: Widnes 55 – Sheffield 15
  • Penalties In Minutes: Widnes 4 – Sheffield 6
  • MVPs:  Widnes  – Harrison Walker,  Sheffield – Nicholas Winters
  • Match Officials:  Adam Hands (Referee), Alice Stanley & Tom Walker (Linesmen)
  • Report by Paul Breeze
  • Photos by Geoff White

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