THE Reserves’ playoff hopes hang in the balance as the Wildcats completed a League double over the Saints with two tries in the final five minutes to win 28-26 writes Graham Henthorne.
The match was a cagey affair in the first period with the home side breaking the deadlock after ten minutes. Their lively hooker dummied his way through the line beating Nathan Ashe to the corner.
The Saints hit back with a splendid interpassing move down the right. A quick play the ball from sub Anthony Walker saw the ball in the hands of Shaun Magennis and his short pass put Matty Ashurst into a hole. As he was tackled he offloaded to Scott Hale and the big second rower shot through the gap taking it 30 metres to the full back. He waited for his support out wide and fed Josh Jones who’s inside ball found Ben Karalius (pictured) to go over at the side of the posts for a great try.
As the half went on the Saints gradually realised that the Wildcats were finding it increasingly hard to get out of their own half. The Saints chase in support of the kicking of Karalius and Danny Yates became a little more intense and some aggressive defence forced several handling errors as the Wildcats started to feel the pressure.
The reward came with the final play of the half as Josh Jones went over at the posts. A quick play the ball on half way allowed Marcus Baines to scoot away from the markers. He found Hale who again broke the line, fed Adam Barber on the wing who took it to the full back before feeding it back inside to Jones.
Barber’s second conversion gave the Saints an 8 point lead at the break.
The lead was cut immediately on the resumption. An inexplicable short kick off from the Saints put the Wildcats on the attack and they scored at the posts when the last tackler grubber was lost over the line.
Another Baines 40 metre break after a quick play the ball saw the Saints pull clear again. Dan Brotherton collected Nathan Ashe’s grubber to the corner just squeezing in before the cover arrived.
The game was nip and tuck all the way now. The home side cut the deficit to 2 before Brotherton’s second from a good ball from Alex Trumper restored the lead.
Wakefield drew level on the hour but the Saints were unlucky not to respond straight away as Ashe just couldn’t hold Hale’s short ball 20 metres out.
However, the Saints did score on the next set. Ashe, at stand off now, broke down the middle. The supporting Tommy Johnson was tackled off the ball but good refereeing allowed the advantage and quick hands saw Trumper score in the corner.
Barber’s third conversion gave the Saints a slender six point lead which was defendable until some sort of provocation on the ground saw Shaun Magennis sin-binned for the punch he threw on regaining his feet.
After the match winning try the Saints regained the short kick off and were pressing on attack but possession was lost in sight of the posts and the whistle blew.
Magennis, Ashurst, Walker, Hale and the ever dependable Jordan Hand all put in the effort but a lack of cohesion, direction and team work allowed a team with much less ability to come away with the win because their desire was greater.
Tries: Chris Dean, Sam Parkin 2, Tom Henderson 2, Danny Cowling.
Goals: Josh Veivers 2.
Tries: Josh Jones, Alex Trumper, Dan Brotherton 2, Ben Karalius.
Goals: Adam Barber 3.
1. Josh Veivers, 2. Tom Hodson, 3. Chris Dean, 4. Lucas Walshaw, 5. Sam Parkin, 6. Liam Kay, 7. Jordan Lowther, 8. Russ Spiers, 9. Tom Henderson, 10. Kyle Trout, 11. Andy Tate, 12. Adam Slater, 13. Danny Cowling.
Subs: 14. Josh Hardcastle, 15. Stan Robin, 16. Sammy Masselot, 17. Nathan Harper.
1. Nathan Ashe, 2. Adam Barber, 3. Josh Jones, 4. Alex Trumper, 14. Dan Brotherton, 7. Ben Karalius, 6. Danny Yates, 8. Jordan Hand, 9. Aaron Lloyd, 10. Shaun Magennis, 12. Scott Hale, 11. Andrew Dixon, 13. Matty Ashurst.
Subs: 5. Marcus Baines, 15. Carl Forster, 16. Anthony Walker, 17. Tommy Johnson.