THE Reserves registered their first win of the Season against the previously unbeaten Harlequins RL with a resilient team performance built on a great first half display writes Graham Henthorne.
Although only 12 points to the good at the break the Saints had had the majority of the territorial advantage pinning Quins in their own half with Ben Karalius and Adam Swift’s astute kicking game.
It was Swift who opened the scoring showing good pace in outpacing the covering defence to the line after good footwork had created the opening.
The lead was doubled on quarter time as Dan Brotherton picked up a loose ball to touch down in the left corner. Danny Jones’ run down the left had put the Saints in good field position and Swift’s cross field bomb put the defence under pressure allowing Brotherton the easiest of scores.
The Saints were more than matching the big, experienced Quins pack with Carl Forster to the fore.
As the half wore on a touch of fatigue set in and a string of penalties marched the visitors down field but strong defence on the line epitomised by Josh Jones’ two last ditch try saving tackles prevented Quins from taking gaining any advantage.
The break came at the wrong time for the Saints allowing Quins to regroup and they came back with a vengeance at the start of the second period.
Again ferocious scrambling defence kept them at bay and the Saints took full advantage going straight down the other end to score. A strong drive to the line from Ant Walker and a quick play the ball gave Swift time to step inside his opposing centre for his second try of the evening.
The visitors enjoyed a purple patch around the hour mark scoring three tries as the saints appeared to be tiring.
Sandwiched in the middle Aarron Lloyd had snook over from dummy half to stem the flow a little giving much needed breathing space to the Reserves. Forster’s strong drive was followed by a handoff and break from Captain Warren Thompson who was stopped inches short of a deserved try.
That was as close as the visitors got, however, as the Saints finished the stronger. Ben Karalius’s 40/20 again penned Quins in, and Tommy Makinson’s fourth goal of the night, for a high shot on Lloyd pushed the lead out to 10.
From the kick off Scott Hale dummied inside but set off down the short side on a 30 metre run. Forster took it on from the play the ball finding Hale on his shoulder to finish what he’d started.
This was a much better performance giving the Reserves a much needed boost after a disappointing loss at Salford. Man of the Match was Adam Swift whose enthusiasm and running at the line always had Quins worried, but he was pushed all the way by Gary Wheeler and both starting props Forster and Jordan Hand making his starting début at this level.
St Helens U20s:
Tries: Dan Brotherton, Adam Swift 2, Aaron Lloyd, Scott Hale.
Goals: Tommy Makinson 5.
Tries: Kieran Dixon, Lamont Bryan 2.
Goals: Omari Caro.
Half Time: 12-0
Full Time: 30-14
St Helens U20s:
1. Nathan Ashe, 2. Josh Jones, 3. Tommy Makinson, 4. Gary Wheeler, 5. Dan Brotherton, 6. Adam Swift, 7. Ben Karalius, 8. Jordan Hand, 9. Aaron Lloyd, 10. Carl Forster, 11. Danny Jones, 12. Scott Hale, 13. Warren Thompson.
Subs: 14. Marcus Baines, 15. Joe Bate, 16. Anthony Walker, 17. Joe Greenwood.
1. Kieran Dixon, 2. Omari Caro, 3. Will Lovell, 4. Joe Ridley, 5. Mike Channing, 6. Dan Sarginson, 7. Mike Bishay,
8. Rob Thomas, 9. Max Edwards, 10. Olsi Krasniqi, 11. Alex Ingarfield, 12. Lamont Bryan, 13. Sam Bolger.
Subs: 14. Billy Driver, 15. Gavin Hyder, 16. George Archer, 17. Alex Anthony.