THE Reserves bounced back from the agony of last week with a convincing 36-14 win over a strong, and typically large, Bradford outfit, writes Graham Henthorne, Team Manager.
Far from being intimidated by their bigger opponents the Saints pack revelled in the challenge despite losing the hugely influential Carl Forster to a serious shoulder injury during the week.
Captain Warren Thompson and Andrew Dixon, gaining some much needed game time, drove the Saints on in the opening stanza creating the position for Kyle Eastmond and then Josh Jones to send Simon Atherton in for his first try in the Red Vee.
Dan Brotherton showed desperation in defence, which was mirrored by his team mates, when saving a certain try in the corner thus preserving the lead.
At the other end he was unlucky to have a try chalked off for a foot in touch just after Tommy Makinson had been held up over the line.
The big Bradford pack were finding it hard to cope with the more mobile Saints forwards and an increasing struggle to get back onside.
The Saints took full advantage with three tries in the final 10 minutes of the half to take the game away from the visitors.
Atherton diffused a difficult bomb on his own line before bringing it out well. The ball was moved left and when Dixon took it to the line he slipped a gem of a pass out to Tommy Makinson. The centre handed off his opposite number before outpacing the cover over 60 metres to the posts.
When Kyle Eastmond was held short of the line the Saints chance seemed to have gone but from the play the ball Ben Karalius cut back inside finding Danny Jones on the burst to score under the sticks.
With only seconds to go in the half the Reserves were again threatening the Bulls line and scored as Eastmond ducked under the tackle to go in at the side of the posts. Makinson’s fourth conversion put the Saints in total command as the whistle sounded.
Coach Ian Talbot emphasised to his charges at the break that no matter how good a half that had been, the Bulls would come storming back at them.
He was proved right but not before the Saints had the best possible start to the second period. Dixon found space down the left taking it to the full back before releasing Makinson for his second of the evening.
The defensive exertions of the first half started to take their toll and the Bradford pack got on a roll scoring three tries in 20 minutes. Thankfully only 1 was converted leaving the Saints still three scores to the good and when the Bulls had a try ruled out for a forward pass they knew their chance had gone.
The Saints finished the stronger. Makinson kicked a penalty for obstruction on Aaron Lloyd as the hooker was chasing Karalius’ grubber through the defensive line.
Warren Thompson capped a typically gutsy Captain’s knock with a try on the final whistle barging over close to the line.
This was a very pleasing win for the slowly improving Saints. Tommy Johnson was strong at the back, Ant Walker, Joe Bate and Jordan Hand more than held their own up front ably supported by debutant Jordan Case and Joe Greenwood but Tommy Makinson stood out whenever he got the ball.
Tries: Simon Atherton, Tommy Makinson 2, Kyle Eastmond, Warren Thompson, Danny Jones.
Goals: Tommy Makinson 6.
Tries: John Bateman, Rob Hawthorne, Lewis Straughn.
Goals: Danny Addy.
1. Tommy Johnson, 2. Simon Atherton, 3. Josh Jones, 4. Tommy Makinson, 5. Dan Brotherton, 6. Kyle Eastmond, 7. Ben Karalius, 8. Jordan Hand, 9. Aaron Lloyd, 10. Warren Thompson, 11. Andrew Dixon, 12. Danny Jones, 13. Jordan Case.
Subs: 14. Marcus Baines, 15. Joe Bate, 16. Anthony Walker, 17. Joe Greenwood.
1. Kyle Williamson, 2. Ethan Hawksworth, 3. John Bateman, 4. Rob Hawthorne, 5. Lewis Straughn, 6. Kyle Briggs,
7. Cain Southernwood, 8. Tom Burgess, 9. Adam O’Brien, 10. Steve Crossley, 11. Ian Sibbitt, 12. James Donaldson, 13. Danny Addy.
Subs: 14. Tom Lillicrop, 15. Liam McKay, 16. Lewis Reed, 17. Callum Windley.