LED by a hat-trick from scrum half Ben Karalius the Saints Reserves cemented their position in the top six with a comfortable 68-18 win over Salford writes Graham Henthorne.
The result was never in doubt as the Saints scorched in for seven first half tries scoring at almost a point a minute.
James Hill was first over the whitewash profiting from Joe Greenwood’s offload out of the tackle which set Aaron Lloyd away on a mazy 40 metre run from half way.
Nathan Ashe’s first came as Josh Jones took advantage of a restarted tackle count on half way after the City Reds partially intercepted a last tackle kick. He broke down the right taking the ball to the full back before feeding Ashe back on the inside.
The City Reds boast a big pack bolstered by the inclusion of Adam Sidlow but they weren’t a match for the Saints. Carl Forster and Anthony Walker both drove deep into the Reds territory allowing Gary Wheeler the easiest of side steps through to the line.
From the kick off the pack were at it again with a great set of six downfield culminating in the Reds being unable to diffuse Wheeler’s grubber with Jordan Case reacting quickest to touchdown.
Adam Swift and Hill combined to thwart Sidlow forcing the offload close to the line and then bundling his winger into touch to save the try. The Saints then poured down the other end with Forster twisting over to score.
A lapse in defence allowed Salford to open their account but normal service was resumed as first Karalius broke the line and outpacing the cover to the corner and then Swift collected his cross kick on the last.
Knowing that to have any chance of leapfrogging Leeds into fifth place the Saints needed to score heavily, Coach Talbot asked his charges not to slack off in the second period.
Josh Jones showed his intent with a great individual try to open the half. He broke down the middle 60 out managing to hand off the chasing winger to score.
Alex Trumper had a try disallowed but from the scrum 10 out from the Salford line they inexplicably dropped the ball which was swooped upon by Karalius for the easiest of tries.
The revival in Saints fortunes over the last couple of months has largely been built upon the performances of Forster, Walker and big second row Joe Greenwood and all three combined to put Ashe in for the Saints tenth try.
Wheeler and Jones made the break for Tommy Johnson to finish well in the right corner and Karalius wrapped up the scoring and his hat-trick dummying his way through to the posts.
In truth the score could and should have been more than 80 as the Saints bombed three or four good opportunities. Of more worry to the coaching staff will be the three tries scored and the others missed by the City Reds, mistakes which will have to be ironed out before the play offs start next week, in all likelihood at home to the Tigers.
Tries: Nathan Ashe 2, Tommy Johnson, Josh Jones, Adam Swift, James Hill, Gary Wheeler, Ben Karalius 3, Carl Forster, Jordan Case.
Goals: Gary Wheeler 7, Jordan Case 3.
Tries: Jon Ford, Jordan Walne, Adam Files.
Goals: Marc Sneyd 3.
Half Time: 38-6
Full Time: 68-18
1. Nathan Ashe; 2. Tommy Johnson, 3. Josh Jones, 4. Adam Swift, 5. James Hill; 6. Gary Wheeler, 7. Ben Karalius; 8. Carl Forster, 9. Aaron Lloyd, 10. Anthony Walker, 11. Alex Trumper, 12. Joe Greenwood, 13. Jordan Case.
Subs: 14. Marcus Baines, 15. Stephen Lucas, 16. Joe Bate, 17. Josh Greaves.
1. Niall Evalds; 2. Ross Pendlebury, 3. Jon Ford, 4. Andy Morris, 5. Adam Clay; 6. Tom Whitehead, 7. Marc Sneyd; 8. Adam Walne, 9. Gareth Owen, 12. Jack Spencer, 11. Jordan Walne, 10. Adam Sidlow, 13. David Stephenson.
Subs: 14. Adam Files, 15. Toby Adamson, 16. Adam Dybdall, 17. Alex Davidson.