Rugby league: Players and fans turn out for former Widnes Vikings ace Chris Percival
FORMER Vikings stars and local amateur players turned out in force for the Chris Percival Day on Saturday.
Taking place at Widnes St Marie’s, a team of ex-professionals took on a side made up of players from Simms Cross, St Marie’s, West Bank and Halton Farnworth Hornets.
In a game of touch rugby, it was the amateurs who ran out winners by one try to nil as thousands of pounds were raised for 30-year-old Percival, who has been diagnosed with throat cancer.
The father of one, who later played for Leigh, Rochdale and Halton Simms Cross before being forced to hang up his boots, helped Widnes Vikings to the Super League in 2003 as part of Neil Kelly’s Northern Ford Premiership play-off winning squad.
Proud dad John Percival, who represented the Great Britain amateur side in the 1980s and also played for Swinton and Simmies, said: “It was a really good day. There was lads like Jason Demetriou who came down but couldn’t play as he had a game the next day for Wakefield. Richard Agar was there from Hull, Adam Hughes, Cantillon. Jason Donohue turned up despite the fact his leg is in a brace.”
Also among the former professionals were Bobbie Goulding, Paul Aitcheson, Peter Smith, Jamie Bloem, Chris Foran, Adam Hughes, Eddie Killgannon, Lee Hansen, Jimmy Cassidy, Esene Flymialo, Lee Ashton, Sean Richardson, James Briers, Jason Roach and Steve Hampson, with ex-Viking coach Kelly taking charge of the former pros.
Percival senior, whose other sons Neil and David represented the amateurs on Saturday, thanked the Vikings for their assistance in recent weeks.
“It is brilliant what Widnes Vikings have done, and they sent a kit over for the match. David Hulme, who we can’t thank enough, organised the supporters’ evening.
“There was a wonderful turnout of 350 people at the Stobart Stadium, where they put a marquee up, and that was attended by so many Widnes players, and superstars from Widnes. People like Tony Myler – who Chris didn’t even play with – Billy Boston was there and a lot of other stars, which was great.”