St Helens U20s 24 v 36 Wigan U20s
Three tries in the final quarter cost the Reserves this match against the Old Enemy. Clinging to a two point lead the Saints couldn’t respond and fall further behind in the rankings writes Graham Henthorne Team Manager.
The visitors with costly Aussie import Amos Roberts calling the shots should have put the first points on the board but knocked on giving the Saints with both Matty Ashe, elder brother of Nathan and Mark Percival making their debuts, the honours of scoring first.
A good attacking set and grubber from Ben Karalius gave the Saints a repeat set and from the restart drives from Joe Greenwood, Ant Walker and Jordan Hand had the visitors scrambling. As it was it was an inside ball from the returning Gareth Frodsham to Karalius which gave the scrum half a run to the posts.
The Saints doubled their lead in even time as Josh Jones went in. Tommy Johnson could have scored himself but instead brought the centre back on the inside to the posts for the try.
The celebrations were short lived, however as Jones went from hero to villain dropping off the tackle which allowed the centre in down the right.
Yet more poor tackles gave the visitors their second try and they went ahead on the half hour to a try from a dubiously forward pass.
The Saints responded with a good defensive set forcing the knock on. From the scrum the play went first right then back left with Karalius wrapping around to provide the extra man and finding Joe Greenwood for the score.
To hold out until the break was the hope but the scores were levelled on the stroke of half time as the visitors winger went in for his first.
The worst possible start was to concede on the first set and that’s exactly what the Saints did. There was a hint of offside, however, as the right winger collected Roberts’ chip over the line.
The Saints were not out of it and some aggressive defence in the middle produced a poor pass picked off by Josh Jones who managed to outstrip the defence to the line for the go ahead score.
As time went by the first half missed chances and fatigue caught up with the Reserves and the game slipped away again.
Until his departure through injury Gareth Frodsham showed glimpses of his old self, Ant Walker and Jordan Hand took the line on well and Matty Ashe made a solid debut in the red vee. But Joe Greenwood just edged Hand for the best on the day.
Tries: Josh Jones 2, Ben Karalius, Joe Greenwood.
Goals: Tommy Johnson 4.
Tries: Mathew Russell, Blake Mahovic 4, Jack Murphy 2.
Goals: Jack Murphy, Sam Powell 3.
Half Time: 18-18
Full Time: 24-36
1. Tommy Johnson, 2. Simon Atherton, 3. Mark Percival, 4. Josh Jones, 5. Dan Brotherton, 6. Matty Ashe, 7. Ben Karalius, 8. Gareth Frodsham, 9. Aaron Lloyd, 10. Jordan Hand (pictured), 11. Danny Jones, 12. Joe Greenwood, 13. Anthony Walker.
Subs: 14. Marcus Baines, 15. Jordan Case, 16. Joe Bate, 17. Josh Greaves.
1. Mathew Russell, 2. Ryan King, 3. Blake Mahovic, 4. Matt Crow, 5. Jack Murphy, 6. Amos Roberts, 7. Sam Powell, 23. Tom Spencer, 9. Logan Tomkins, 10. Dominic Crosby, 11. Jamie Acton, 12. Danny Bridge, 13. Kieron Harrison.
Subs: 14. Liam Carberry, 15. James Greenwood, 16. Greg Burke, 17. Drew Johnson.