December 23, 2019

The Widnes Wild team made an unusual bit of history in their Midland Cup game away to Sutton Sting at Ice Sheffield on Saturday 21st December when a husband and wife played on the same team in a competitive game for the first time.

There have been numerous instances of married match officials refereeing a game together, or husbands and wives playing in charity games – or matches for different teams within one club – but this is the first time that a husband and wife have played together in a competitive senior fixture – certainly in the history of the NIHL – and probably ever.

Philip Pearson is the Wild’s first choice netminder and he was joined on the team roster for the away game at Sutton by his wife, Emma Pearson.

Emma is the captain of the Widnes Wild women’s team and is their top scorer with 12 goals and 5 assists so far this season in WNIHL Division 1 North.

Emma has played over 200 competitive games for women’s teams and has also played on numerous occasions for the Scotland representative team. She has played “mixed” hockey for the Manchester Metros university team but this was the first time she had ever played in a competitive men’s league game.

After the game, Emma said: “Being allowed the opportunity to ice in the Wild game on Saturday was incredible. I was really nervous before the game as I have never played at that level before. The lads were so supportive and and I am really grateful to Mike Clancy for allowing me to have the experience of playing against a team like Sutton. Training with the Wild and icing in the game has helped me develop as a player and, hopefully, I will get more chances again in the future.”

In the same game Widnes handed an NIHL debut to Tristan Grimshaw, who has recently impressed in the Wild Academy Under 18 team and he was joined by fellow Under 18s Sam Anderson and Jake Lowndes. Great Britain women’s international C.J. Ashton also made a first appearance for the Wild.

Words: Paul Breeze/  Photo: Phil Maguire