SAINTS under 15s and under 16s scooped wins over their Widnes counterparts at the weekend, writes Graham Henthorne, Team Manager.
The U15s Saints Academy Scholarship side continued their good run of form and dominated their close neighbours to boot winning 40-8.
The Vikings did take the lead, scoring from a typical rugby ball bouncing grubber, but the Saints had already had a Kane Ditchfield try disallowed for a forward pass.
A second try went begging when some poor decisions close to the line resulted in a knock on and a reprieve for the visitors.
But the opening try for the Saints on the quarter hour gave them the lead and three more in the second quarter took the game away from the Vikings.
Adam Saunders opened the Saints account rounding the full back to the sticks after quick hands from Jed Mawdsley had put him away.
A big defensive effort from the forwards had forced the error from the Vikings in their own 20 and Deon Cross made them pay taking the miss pass to score in the right corner.
A great 60 metre run from Ditchfield and then Rob Hamon ended with the big second rower agonisingly knocking on as his nose hit the whitewash but Ditchfield increased the lead minutes later scoring a great Saints try. A series of offloads out the back and overhead kept the ball alive and the Vikings defence all at sea before Olly Davies and Joe Ryan put Ditchfield under the posts.
From the kick off the impressive Olly Davies showed his mettle with a barnstorming 60 metre run knocking countless hapless would be tacklers out of his path before having the presence of mind to put the supporting Saunders away to score at the posts.
The Vikings scored, again from a bizarrely bouncing kick, on the stroke of half time to give them a shred of hope for the second half.
There was not a hint of charity in the minds of the Saints, however, as a clinical performance saw them turn the screw on their near neighbours.
Again the visitors managed to hold the Saints out for the third quarter but Adam Saunders broke the shackles. He pierced the line speeding away but before being caught by the cover offloaded to his wing man Cross who, instead of diving stayed upright, and was bundled into touch in goal by the speedy Viking winger covering across the park.
Joe Ryan was held up short but quick thinking from Tom Davies at dummy half saw the hooker dart through to score.
Drives from Ryan again and Daniel Abram out of defence gave the momentum for Ditchfield to break through and show a clean pair of heels to the full back as he rounded him to the sticks for the sixth try of the afternoon.
The seventh was created by David Hewitt turning in a sound performance on his return from injury. He broke through the passing to Josh Swift who took it to the now beleaguered Vikings full back and although the easier try was a return pass to Hewitt, Swift had enough to break the tackle, get up and still touch down.
Better ball control and decision making would have seen this turn into a cricket score but this was a good team performance from a side still learning what their best position is and how to play together effectively. Having said that their were again good performances from Daniel Abram and David Hewitt, Adam Saunders knows where the line is and Rob Hamon, Joe Ryan, Kane Ditchfield and Olly Davies can certainly make the hard yards.
Tries: Adam Saunders 2, Deon Cross, Tom Davies, Kane Ditchfield 2, Josh Swift
Goals: Kane Ditchfield, David Hewitt 5
Tries: Shaun Robinson, Matty Murphy
Half Time: 22-8
Full Time: 40-8
1. Adam Saunders, 2. Deon Cross, 3. Jed Mawdsley, 4. Alex Porter, 5. Will Weir, 6. Daniel Abram, 7. Ryan Connelly, 8. Robbie Hand, 9. Tom Davies, 10. Tom Calland, 11. Rob Hamon, 12. Josh Swift, 13. Kane Ditchfield.
Subs: 14. David Hewitt, 15. Joe Ryan, 16. Oliver Davies, 17. Josh Crehan, 18. Josh Wood.
1. Lewis Scott, 2. Shaun Robinson, 3. Niall Allen, 4. Matty Barrow, 5. Olly Glover, 6. Matty Murphy, 7. Joe Holian, 8. Ryan Dyas, 9. Jake Upton, 10. Tom Smith, 11. Carl Glover, 12. Dek Flannery, 13. Ellis Sant.
Subs: 14. Chris Spendlove, 15. Kieron Maher, 16. Shaun Leigh, 17. Alex Mogg, 18. Matty Richie.
The under 16s dominated their match winning 38-4.
As with their U15 counterparts the 16’s had a frustrating first quarter as poor handling and decision making on the opposition line kept them scoreless.
But once the impressive Mike Scott had rounded his opposite number on his own 40 and gone 60 metres down the line to score, the Saints never looked back.
A drive from André Savelio put the Saints on the attack and from the play the ball quick hands gave Matty Gee space to dummy his way over in the right corner.
On the half hour Luke Thompson continued his fine form driving close to the Vikings line and his quick play the ball gave Matty Fozard the chance to dart over for the first of his brace against his hometown. The significance not lost on his team mates as they showed their delight by mobbing him on the line.
The fourth try of the half was the first of Josh Ward’s hat-trick. Good work from sub Jack Grice took the Saints close and Ward darted through from the play the ball to round the full back and score at the sticks.
The game was taken away from the visitors immediately on the restart. A charge down of the last tackle kick by Matty Gee was chased down by Ward who picked up and scored in the corner.
Another Savelio wrecking ball run down the left resulted in some dazzling offloads, not least of which was Fozards’ zip pass inches off the floor which put Matty Wood in and from the restart Thompson showed he could do just as well on a great 50 metre run only to be stopped short. Fozard used the momentum to dart over for his second.
The 16s showed that they’re not just one-trick ponies by muscling up in defence to keep the Vikings out as they finally mounted a meaningful attack on the hour mark. But normal service was resumed minutes later as Ward scored try number 3 finishing in the corner after good work from Lewis Galbraith and Jack White.
Sterner tests will come for the U16’s, not least of which will be next weekend away to the Wolves, but you can only beat what’s put in front of you. And that’s what they did.
Tries: Mathew Gee, Mike Scott, Josh Ward 3, Mathew Fozard 2, Mathew Wood
Goals: Josh Ward 3
Tries: Alex Clare.
Half Time: 20-0
Full Time: 38-4
1. Jack White, 2. Ben Roberts, 3. Mathew Gee, 4. Lewis Galbraith, 5. Mike Scott, 6. Chris Carr, 7. Josh Ward, 8. Jack Connor, 9. Mathew Fozard, 10. Greg Richards, 11. Jamie Martlew, 12. Luke Thompson, 13. Brandon Lewis.
Subs: 14. Jordon Heaton, 15. André Savelio, 16. Jack Grice, 17. Olly Yates, 18. Mathew Wood.
1. Kyle Ross, 2. Alex Clare, 3. Mike Donohue, 4. Dean Ainsworth, 5. Johnny Wood, 6. Matty Smith, 7. Ryan McCain, 8. Aaron Whitlow, 9. Kyle Smith, 10. Sam McGrory, 11. Lloyd Hankin, 12. Greg Forbes, 13. Danny Stapleton.
Subs: 14. Adam Peet, 15. Conor O’Toole, 16. Jake Coulter, 17. Elliot Conrad.