Widnes: Fan response 'overwhelming'

Widnes Vikings have condemned the crowd trouble which overshadowed their Challenge Cup semi-final against Castleford

Widnes Vikings have condemned the crowd trouble which overshadowed their Challenge Cup semi-final against Castleford

First published in National Sport © by

Widnes have reported an "overwhelming" response from supporters to their appeal for information following Sunday's violent pitch invasion at the Tetley's Challenge Cup semi-final.

A number of supporters stormed onto the field immediately after the Vikings were beaten 28-6 by Castleford in a televised clash at Leigh Sports Village and approached rival supporters in a provocative manner.

Castleford fans appeared not to respond to any goading but violence did break out as police and stewards attempted to restore order.

Many pictures of the trouble have emerged via social media, including one of the head being removed from one of Castleford's tiger mascots and kicked away.

Widnes chief executive James Rule described the scenes as "sickening" and "shameful" and vowed to work closely with the Rugby Football League and the police and carry out a full investigation.

Widnes also asked for supporters to report what they had seen via a special email address, tellus@widnesvikings.co.uk.

Rule said in a statement on the Widnes website: "It's evident from the overnight response that our genuine supporters are as disappointed and frustrated by the scenes as everybody is within the club.

"We've had an overwhelming response and the information we have received will be invaluable in conducting a thorough investigation.

"I wish to thank the supporters for supplying this information and would encourage anybody with any details to continue to supply that to the club, which will then be submitted and utilised within the investigation process.

"Together we can begin to take the first steps of rebuilding our reputation."

The RFL is awaiting reports from all relevant parties before deciding on its course of action but the governing body's chief executive Nigel Wood also spoke out.

Wood said: "The sport has every right to be disappointed with the behaviour of a minority of Widnes fans. We will work with the clubs to identify any supporters who encroached onto the pitch. There is no place for such behaviour in rugby league."

The match had attracted a sell-out 12,005 crowd and had mostly been played in a good atmosphere, despite appalling weather.

The victory earned Castleford a first trip to Wembley since 1992 and a final date with their West Yorkshire rivals Leeds.

Meanwhile, Widnes player Willie Isa has been charged with two disciplinary offences following incidents in the match against Castleford.

Isa has been charged with grade B dangerous contact on Kirk Dixon in the 62nd minute of the game, and the same offence against Andy Lynch a minute later.

Isa will face an independent disciplinary tribunal on Tuesday.

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