Salford City Reds U20s 28 v 14 St Helens U20s
By Graham Henthorne, Team Manager
The Academy U20s got their season off to the worst possible start with a below par performance at a chilly Willows on Friday night.
Coach Ian Talbot fielded a team consisting of players with both Super League experience and U18s qualifiers but one that was more than capable of coming away with the points.
The Saints started well putting the home side under a lot of pressure. Ben Karalius’ kick on the last rebounded to a Saints for a second set on the home line. First Carl Forster and then Scott Hale were held over the line before Karalius’ neat grubber was pounced upon at the side of the posts by Andrew Dixon for the opening score.
However, poor handling let the City Reds back in almost straight away. A knock on and penalty by Dixon put the Reds on the charge and the centre scored wide on the left.
Minutes later and the handling again let the Saints down with yet another knock on early in the tackle count putting them under pressure. A chip to the corner from Man of the Match Marc Sneyd caught for the try by his winger put the City Reds ahead.
Sneyd’s 40/20 brought the best out of the Saints goal line defence as Nathan Ashe and Josh Jones combined to bundle the winger into touch saving a try.
The Saints enjoyed a purple patch on the half hour as Karalius started to carve the home side up down the middle. Twice he broke through putting Matty Ashurst away. First time he was caught at the line and the ball was lost. Secondly he found Ashe on his inside and his ball was put down with the line begging by debutant Adam Swift.
But two tackles later the Reds were done for a forward pass and from the resultant scrum Swift made amends putting Adam Barber into the corner to give the Saints back the lead.
A knock on from the kick off put the 20s straight back under pressure and the big substitute prop barged over at the posts to send the home side in ahead at the break.
The second half quickly turned into a war of attrition. Something different was required and on the hour mark Swift supplied it with a chip over the defensive line to the right corner. Dan Brotherton used his height and reach to get to the ball and stretched out to level the scores.
Keep it tight and put them under some pressure I hear you cry. As before this evening the 20s found it difficult to turn the screw and a simple penalty for holding down gave the home side the lead again.
On the next set Sneyd took the game away from the Saints chipping over the line for his winger to take and cruise to the sticks. A final try to the scrum half gave the Reds a slightly inflated score but in truth the Saints were well beaten in the end.
Adam Swift did well on debut and Josh Jones and Matty Ashurst never gave up but too many players didn’t have their game heads on, an attitude that will have to change drastically and quickly before the local derby with the Wire next week.
1. Jack Holmes, 2. Adam Clay, 4. Andy Morris, 3. Max Wiper, 5. Richard Lepori, 6. Niall Evalds, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8.
Matthew Haggerty, 9.Gareth Owen, 10. Alex Davidson, 11. Jordan Walne, 12. Toby Adamson, 13. Will Hope.
Subs: 14. Craig Noon, 15. Jon Ford, 17. Callum Marriott, 18. Daniel Haney.
1. Nathan Ashe, 2. Dan Brotherton, 3. Josh Jones, 4. Tom Armstrong, 5. Adam Barber, 6. Adam Swift, 7. Ben Karalius, 8. Ant Walker, 9. Aaron Lloyd, 10. Carl Forster, 11. Scott Hale, 12. Matty Ashurst, 13. Andrew Dixon.
Subs: 14. Danny Jones, 15. Kenny Hughes, 16. Jordan Hand, 17. Alex Trumper.
Salford City Reds U20s:
Tries: Adam Clay, Andy Morris, Richard Lepori, Marc Sneyd, Callum Marriott.
Goals: Marc Sneyd 4.
St Helens U20s:
Tries: Dan Brotherton, Adam Barber, Andrew Dixon.
Goals: Adam Barber.
Half Time: 10-14
Full Time: 14-28