IT'S MY VIEW: Friday’s duel between Wolves and Vikings evokes old memories

Warrington Guardian: Mike Nicholas gets his shoulder into Reg Bowden Mike Nicholas gets his shoulder into Reg Bowden

WHETHER you feel Wolves’ biggest ‘derby’ is against Wigan, St Helens, Leigh or Widnes, there is no doubt a trip to the Select Security Stadium has a touch of spice about it.

Some of the passion and fire for this Cheshire contest was perhaps lost on modern-day Warrington fans during Widnes’ years out of the top flight and it perhaps took last season’s double defeat to bring back those tribal feelings.

But the exuberance generated in the substantial home win on Good Friday, when Wolves’ forwards battered their opposites with ferocious intent, restored the kind of order I recall from witnessing tasty battles over the years at Wilderspool Stadium and Naughton Park – and not just from watching the big guys fronting up with one another.

It could get tasty between John Bevan and Stuart Wright, Reg Bowden and Parry Gordon, Des Drummond and Martin Offiah.

Chuck in a bit of Paul Cullen against Paul Hulme and John Dalgreen against Keith Elwell to get the mouth drooling, before Mike Nicholas and Jim Mills or Les Boyd and Kurt Sorensen start to knock lumps out of one another.

I remember there being quite a spat between Paul Bishop and David Hulme, and then there was the Easter battle at Naughton Park in 1988 that cost Des Drummond his Great Britain tour place.

The modern game is different. One-to-one battles feature less niggle and bish-bash because the advent of television cameras at all games does not allow players to get away with much these days.

Some will say that’s a shame, but such memories of yesteryear can be quite evocative in the heat of a Super League-era battle.

One supporter who will recall similar duels is Craig Garner, who is quickly approaching his 1,000th successive appearance at Wolves matches.

That is a phenomenal effort, going all the way back to 1985 since he missed a Wolves game.

His record was pushed to the wire the other week when M62 traffic chaos prevented most supporters from reaching Hull for the Super League Round 19 game but the bus driver ploughed on and got him there with 10 minutes remaining.

There are more great stats flying around this Warrington team at the moment.

Supporters saw three Warrington players score hat-tricks in one league game for the first time in the club’s history against London Broncos, which is a pleasing way to be going into a Widnes clash.

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