St Helens U20s 12 v 32 Wigan U20s
By Graham Henthorne, Team Manager
Saints Reserves run of poor results against the “Old Enemy” continued on a cold night in the unfamiliar surroundings of Liverpool St Helens Rugby Union club.
The Saints started poorly finding themselves 12 – 0 down in even time and 20 minutes had gone before they got to the back end of a set of six.
Having said all that there were chinks of light. A couple of time the last pass went just behind the man when a better pass would have seen a scoring opportunity.
But all things changed on the half hour. Drives from Matty Ashurst and Aaron Lloyd saw them both stopped short before the ball was moved left where Scott Hale sidestepped his way inside the despairing cover to score. Tommy Makinson’s conversion cut the lead to 6 at the break.
Coach Ian Talbot reminded his charges at half time that considering the start they were more than in the game and quite capable of going out and winning it.
The restart was held up for 15 minutes due to floodlight failure and it was the visitors who looked the sharper on the resumption. Josh Jones and Ben Karalius saved a try on the first set but the visitors extended their lead as poor discipline and line speed allowed the visitors prop to charge over.
This seemed to spark the Saints into life, however, and they bossed the next 15 minutes.
Interpassing down the middle between Kenny Hughes and Ben Karalius put Joe Bate away but the chance was lost on the next play.
On the hour Matty Ashurst scored the try of the night as Ben Karalius went wide on the last. His pass gave Dan Brotherton just enough space for the big winger to show his pace rounding his opposite number. He came to the full back but beat himself sidestepping into him but managed to get the ball away to the supporting Josh Jones. He fed Kenny Hughes then gave it on to Ashurst who had the pace to outstrip the cover for a great score.
The game turned on the restart. Karalius broke down the right and put Sean Magennis clear. The big prop fed Ashurst who in turn found Simon Atherton making his Saints debut. The winger should have backed himself to score but he chose instead to feed a one handed pass out to the touch judge and the chance was lost.
The visitors went straight down the other end and scored. Two more tries in the final 10 minutes as tired legs and interchanges disrupted the side, gave the score a somewhat artificial look.
Magennis and Forster led the line well, Ashurst was always pressing and Karalius and Hughes continue to build their mid field partnership, but in truth defensively the team was below par giving too much time and space to a team that doesn’t need the help.
St Helens U20s:
1 Tommy Johnson, 5 Dan Brotherton, 3 Josh Jones, 4 Tommy Makinson, 2 Adam Barber, 6 Kenny Hughes, 7 Ben Karalius, 8 Shean Magennis, 9 Aaron Lloyd, 10 Carl Forster, 11 Scott Hale, 12 Warren Thompson, 13 Matty Ashurst.
Subs: 14 Danny Jones, 15 Anthony Walker, 16 Jordan Hand, 17 Ste Yates, Blank Simon Atherton, 19 Joe Bate
1 Matty Russell, 2 Ryan King, 3 Matty Crow, 4 Josh Charnley, 5 Jack Murphy, 6 Chris Taylor, 7 Sam Powell, 8 Dom Crosby, 9 Logan Tomkins, 10 Tom Spencer, 11 Jack Hughes, 12 Danny Bridge, 13 Greg Burke.
Subs: 15 James Greenwood, 16 Jaydon Sanford, 17 Kieron Harrison, 18 John O’Donnell.
St Helens U20s:
Tries: Scott Hale, Matty Ashurst.
Goals: Tommy Makinson, Ben Karalius.
Wigan U20s Team:
Tries: Matty Russell, Ryan King 3, Dom Crosby, Tom Spencer.
Goals: Sam Powell 2, Jack Murphy 2.
Half Time: 6-12
Full Time: 12-32