‘He showed some good touches’ - Gareth Widdop makes Halifax Panthers debut in 1895 Cup win at Rochdale Hornets

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Halifax Panthers cruised to a heavy win over Rochdale Hornets in the 1895 Cup, in a game where former England international Gareth Widdop made his debut for his hometown club.

Fax ran in nine tries to secure a 52-12 success over their League 1 opponents to apply pressure to Oldham ahead of the final round of fixtures in a fortnight.

James Woodburn-Hall, Greg Eden and Ben Tibbs all got on the trysheet for the second game running having gone over in the 24-10 defeat at Oldham - a result which could prove to be the Panthers’ undoing in the competition they conquered at Wembley last season.

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Ben Crooks helped himself to a double while there were also tries for Ben Kavanagh, Tom Inman, Matty Gee and Louis Jouffret.

Greg Eden, pictured here scoring against Oldham, touched down again for the Panthers against Rochdale. (Photo by SImon Hall).Greg Eden, pictured here scoring against Oldham, touched down again for the Panthers against Rochdale. (Photo by SImon Hall).
Greg Eden, pictured here scoring against Oldham, touched down again for the Panthers against Rochdale. (Photo by SImon Hall).

Widdop, who signed for the club in December after a spell with Castleford Tigers, came on for the final 30 minutes with a cameo which, no doubt, will have excited the travelling fans.

“He showed some good touches,” admitted head coach Liam Finn after the game. “We are conscious that we don’t want to rush it with him. He has only done a condensed pre-season so far but we got a good half an hour into him and he showed a little bit of what he is about and what we signed him for this year.”

On the overall performance of his side, Finn said:

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Finn looking for Halifax Panthers ‘improvement’ in Rochdale test

“There were improvements although we went into cruise control a little bit either side of half time and we probably could have been more disciplined.

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“We had identified a couple of areas of improvements. We worked on those in the week and we were better at it.

“We could have won by a bit more and try to give ourselves a chance at the points difference potentially but I think that ship has sailed. We will just wait and see.”

Fax are next in action at The Shay this coming Sunday when they take on Whitehaven in the third round of the Challenge Cup.

Finn and his players will then be keeping a close eye on the events at the Oldham versus Rochdale 1895 Cup encounter on Sunday, February 18, where a win for the Roughyeds would seal their progression to the quarter finals. A low-scoring Rochdale win will see Fax make the knockout stages.