THE U20s end of season revival continued against yet more opposition higher placed in the table with this fine 34-10 victory over a typically competitive FC side, writes Graham Henthorne.
Bolstered by the returning Gary Wheeler the Reserves looked to be in control from the off and could have scored on their first two sets. Josh Jones’ weaving run in and out down the right ended with him being stopped short of the line and some sparkling interplay down the left between Wheeler, Matty Ashurst and Scott Hale deserved more.
The Saints finally opened their account as Dan Brotherton scored the first of his three for the afternoon. Jones again did the damage down the right but Ben Karalius’ cross kick on the last was fumbled by the defence giving Brotherton the easiest of scores.
The lead could and should have been doubled from the kick off but the overlap was squandered.
Crucially the Saints ball control started to slip and with it the visitors grew in confidence taking the lead with two well taken tries.
From the kick off the restart was allowed to bounce into touch and the Saints made the visitors pay. Karalius’s grubber on the last was knocked back by Wheeler as it threatened to run dead and was pounced on by Ashurst for the go ahead score.
Despite opening the second half with no completions in the first seven sets the Reserves still managed to bomb two good opportunities as first Scott Hale’s break came to nothing and then Tommy Johnson knocked on over the line.
But as the Saints held onto the ball so the tries came.
Dan Brotherton won the battle of the speedsters as Reece Lyne missed the high bomb it was gathered by Brotherton who beat two then stretched his legs to go 95 metres for the score
A quick tap on the FC line gave Ant Walker a stroll in and the game was well and truly up when Alex Trumper finished a great handling move involving Ashurst, Nathan Ashe, Karalius and Aaron Lloyd.
The last word was Brotherton’s hat-trick score in the corner after a good drive on his debut from 6 foot 7 inch Irishman Aaron McCluskey who got better and more menacing to the opposition as the game went on.
For a moment in the second half the Reserves of earlier in the year would have buckled under their own pressure but this time, as last week, they battled through the bad times and came good. The hard defensive work put in by Assistant Coaches Glyn Walsh and Mick Oxley with all the players has shown itself in the past couple of weeks making the Saints a harder side to beat.
Walker, Carl Forster and the robot that is Jordan Hand laid the platform for Ashurst and Wheeler to weave their magic.
Oh, if only those injuries hadn’t wiped out most of the season!!
Tries: Dan Brotherton 3, Anthony Walker, Matty Ashurst, Alex Trumper.
Goals: Tommy Johnson 5.
Tries: Tom Lineham, Chris Green.
Goals: James Newton.
Half Time: 12-10
Full Time: 34-10
1. Tommy Johnson; 2. Simon Atherton, 3. Josh Jones, 4. Gary Wheeler, 5. Dan Brotherton; 6. Nathan Ashe, 7.
Ben Karalius; 8. Carl Forster, 9. Aaron Lloyd, 10. Anthony Walker, 11. Scott Hale, 12. Joe Greenwood, 13.
Subs: 14. Marcus Baines, 15. Alex Trumper, 16. Aaron McCluskey, 17. Jordan Hand.
1. Danny Swales; 2. Tom Lineham, 3. Nev Morrison, 4. Shane Simpson, 5. Reece Lyne; 6. Luke Briscoe, 7.
Lee Williams; 8. Josh Bowden, 9. James Newton, 10. Jack Aldous, 14. Laurence Pearce, 12. Alec Norris, 13.
Subs: 11. Reece Lazenby, 15. Austin Bell, 16. Crawford Matthews, 17. Chad McGlane.