- Match Centre
U20s Win - Somehow!
I suppose the kindest way to describe this match is to say that the Saints wanted to treat the crowd to a spectacle of Saints trademark edge of the seat, topsy-turvy rugby, writes Graham Henthorne.
However, the real truth is that, as with the U18s the previous night, a lack of respect and a killer instinct almost cost the U20s dear.
To show how in control the Saints were at half time you only have to look at the stats. They completed one out of the first seven sets, finished with a completion rate of 50% and yet still scored six tries without reply to be seemingly out of sight.
A majestic 40/20 from Lee Gaskell set up the first try as from the scrum Danny Yates' short pass to Joe Greenwood put the big second row in unopposed.
We were treated to a Shaun Magennis master class throughout the match as time and again he put a team mate through a hole with a neat short ball.
The first to benefit was Gaskell as Nathan Ashe shot through the line on his own 30 before feeding the ball inside to Gaskell as he reached the full back.
Greg Wilde showed he'd benefitted from his trip to Australia with a great mazy 40 metre run out of defence. A quick play the ball saw Danny Yates feed Magennis then take the return ball to score under the posts.
Gaskell scored his second ghosting around the cover after a great drive from Anthony Walker and two tries from Scott Hale and Mark Percival in the final 5 minutes seemed to have put the icing on an already huge cake.
But the Saints are nothing if not unpredictable as they proceeded to emulate and then better their junior counterparts in throwing away the half time lead by conceding seven second half tries, the last with only 3 minutes left.
The get out of jail card was ultimately played by Gaskell and cashed in by Jayden Sandford. Gaskell's short kick off was tapped back by Hale and taken on by Jordan Case. After battering the Tigers line down the left the ball was passed back to Gaskell on the last. His pinpoint accurate cross field kick was taken over the head of his opposite number by Sandford who grounded it to the relief of all in the red vee.
The Tigers arrived late due to traffic and in the first half it looked like they were still on the motorway. Maybe it was just as well, as if they had played anything like they did after the break in the opening stanza then they would have gone away with the points.
Tries: Lee Gaskell 2, Mark Percival, Danny Yates, Scott Hale, Joe Greenwood, Jayden Sandford.
Goals: Lee Gaskell 5.
Tries: Ben Blackmore 4, Ben Reynolds 2, Clark Thompson.
Goals: Ben Reynolds 4.
Half Time: 34-0
Full Time: 38-36
1. Lee Gaskell; 2. Jayden Sandford, 4. Alex Trumper, 3. Mark Percival, 5. Greg Wilde; 6. Nathan Ashe, 7. Danny Yates; 17. Jordan Hand, 16. Dom Speakman, 8. Shaun Magennis, 11. Scott Hale, 12. Joe Greenwood, 13. Jordan Case.
Subs: 10. Anthony Walker, 14. Lewis Foster, 15. Adam Hesketh, 18. André Savelio.
1. James Clare; 5. Richard Lepori, 3. Danny Holmes, 4. Josh Atkinson, 2. Ben Blackmore; 6. Ben Reynolds, 7. Tom Carroll; 8. Jay Leary, 14. Jack Lee, 10. Steve Nash, 11. Billy Lloyd, 12. Sean Pick, 13. Chris Siddons.
Subs: 15. Jack Smith, 16. Sam Orange, 17. Sean Richards, 18. Clark Thompson.