Editor’s Verdict: Big week for licensing’s biggest success story

In only their third season back in Super League, Widnes enter August still challenging on both fronts.

An important win over Hull KR on Sunday means they retained the top eight place that they have had for the entire season, and gives them momentum for this weekend’s Challenge Cup semi-final against Castleford.

With all the talk of how the new re-structure is going to work, it’s easy to forget that Widnes are a bona fide example of how the licensing system could have been a success – they finished rock bottom in 2012, but were given the time to build, and that has been vindicated.

The licensing ship, of course full of faults too, has sailed now, but let’s hope we’re not having the same discussion about change in a couple of seasons.

Widnes will probably go in to the semi-final as underdogs against Castleford, who continue to defy those who labelled them a flash in the pan earlier in the season. The Tigers not only have the chance of a cup final appearance, but also making a significant dent in the play-offs that Widnes themselves will be hoping to reach too.

Cup fever will no doubt be hitting both towns this week. Speaking to a local at Widnes yesterday, I was told the story of a woman who was persuaded to make the relatively long trip to Wembley and attend the 1964 final, rather than watching it on TV.

As her partner and his friend gushed in the incredible atmosphere, she couldn’t see a thing (Wembley was terraced in those days) and has since watched every single cup final on the television!

The beauty of the Challenge Cup is the memories and stories it brings – rugby league is steeped in tradition, and for all the talk of re-structuring and change, let’s not forget that.

This website has evolved incredibly over the past nine years, and with a greater focus on mobile particularly over the last six months, it’s easy to forget what a fantastic statistical archive we’ve got – matches, player stats, profiles.

We were contacted recently about the player stats of a certain player, being slightly inaccurate. And how it could very well affect their contract negotiations or potential fee when joining another club. In our nine years, I’ve never heard that one – nor have we had a cut of any contract! Perhaps that’s where we’ve been going wrong…

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