sport

Tickle stars in Widnes win

Danny Tickle landed the man of the match award against his old club as Widnes gave their playoff hopes a lift with a stunning 24-10 victory over Wigan.

Tickle booted six goals from six attempts and turned in a powerhouse display in the pack to dent Wigan's hopes of the League Leaders Shield.

Patrick Ah Van crossed for two of the Vikings tries with Paddy Flynn grabbing the other on a night Wigan will want to forget.

Wigan, who swamped Widnes 48-4 at the DW Stadium in June, went into the return fixture with only one win in their last three games against Salford after a shock loss to Bradford and a draw at Hull KR.

But the eighth placed Vikings had also won only three of their last 12 Super League matches and were looking nervously over their shoulders in the battle for the final play off spot.

Wigan, who had lost only one of the previous 11 meetings with Widnes, welcomed back Michael McIlorum and Iain Thornley from long term injuries alongside recent absentees Gil Dudson, Tony Clubb and John Bateman but Matty Bowen, Ben Flower and Joel Tomkins were missing.

Widnes skipper Jon Clarke, who retires at the end of the season, made his last home appearance with the Vikings' last two matches away at Bradford and Salford.

Widnes made a fine start with only a flying Dan Sarginson tackle preventing a Chris Dean try.

But the Vikings won the scrum against the head for Kevin Brown's long pass to put Ah Van over in the corner and Tickle landed the conversion before slotting over a penalty.

Wigan were still recovering when Clarke's burst allowed Joe Mellor and Brown to combine and send Flynn racing in at the opposite corner. Again Tickle added the touchline conversion to make it 14-0 after 14 minutes.

It would have been more embarrassing for Wigan had Ah Van been able to take a difficult pass from Rhys Hanbury with the line at his mercy.

Wigan's opening try had an element of luck about it with a Blake Green pass rolling along the ground before Thornley put Dominic Manfredi over after 30 minutes.

Green was more accurate with a teasing kick to the corner for Josh Charnley to outjump Ah Van and touch down - and this time Matty Smith was successful with the kick to cut the gap to 14-10.

Only desperate defence prevented Charnley bagging a second try just before the break but Widnes deserved their half-time advantage although the warning signs were evident.

Widnes made a perfect start to the second half with Ah Van going over for his second try after Wigan were caught napping from a kick with Tickle's fourth goal making it 20-10.

The torrential rain made handling difficult, especially for Wigan, with Liam Farrell lucky to escape with only a yellow card for a high and late tackle on Mellor.

Tickle struck two penalties to extend the advantage to 24-10 on the hour. Widnes looked hungrier than Wigan who can have no complaints at the final scoreline.