IN end this was a very routine 40-12 win for the Saints against a poor Bulls side, writes Graham Henthorne.
Despite scoring the first try inside 40 seconds and fielding first team squad members Ainscough and Platt, in truth the Bulls offered very little and were second best to an efficient, if not spectacular, Saints.
From the restart the Saints pack went about its business gradually getting on top of their opposite numbers with some solid tackling.
It was just such tackling which converted a poor last tackle kick option into good field position forcing a home knock on. From the scrum on the 10 metre line big Joe Greenwood (pictured), standing out at first receiver, just ploughed his way through to the line.
A second Bulls knock on in their own half again gave the Saints a scrum in good position. This time it was Anthony Walker who took an inside ball to charge over the line with three men on his back.
Things went from bad to worse for the home side as the restart went out on the full and the Saints scored their third try in 10 minutes. Firstly centre Mark Percival was held up over the line and as the ball was moved in field the versatile Josh Jones, tonight operating at stand off, angled his run inside superbly to beat the cover and score to the right of the posts.
On his return from a spell in French Rugby League with his compatriot Aaron McCluskey, Irishman Ian Cross went close only to seemingly have the ball stolen over the whitewash.
On the next set the Saints scored their fourth of the half. A great break from dummy half by the imposing Dom Speakman took him to the full back where he chose to ignore his Captain Jones inside and feed it out to Adam Swift who just had enough to beat the full back to the corner. Percival’s fourth conversion made it 24 and almost game over.
It would have been had Cross not been dragged touch in goal just before half time but Swift’s try saving tackle on the Bulls left winger kept them at bay.
The second half was a bit of a let down as the Saints bombed more tries than they scored. Walker made a 60 metre break which petered out on the last as did Danny Jones’ and Alex Clare’s breaks. Sandwiched in between the unlucky Cross was again denied a score by the sideline.
Josh Jones did manage to put the game beyond the home side with his second of the night again beating the cover with an angled run to the corner.
Joe Greenwood had the ball stolen over the line making it five opportunities gone begging before Alex Trumper, on for Cross, forced his way over in the corner. Percival slotted the touchline conversion having narrowly missed his earlier attempt from the same spot.
A lapse of concentration allowed the home side a degree of respectability with a try from a short side play but the Saints had the last laugh as Joe Greenwood capped a fine display with his second.
Whilst happy with scoring 40 points at Odsal on a chilly Thursday evening Coach Ian Talbot was left rueing the chances missed. Another great defensive display was the backbone of the victory but it could, and should, have been so much better.
There were confident debuts off the bench for Lewis Foster and Alex Clare. Ian Cross, Josh Jones and Adam Swift were always a threat with ball in hand, but as ever the pack laid the foundations. Jordan Hand, Joe Greenwood and the unsung Danny Jones worked hard but were shown the way by the ever improving Anthony Walker.
Tries: Jordan Aitchison, Shaun Ainscough.
Goals: Jordan Aitchison 2.
Tries: Adam Swift, Josh Jones 2, Ant Walker, Joe Greenwood 2, Alex Trumper.
Goals: Mark Percival 6.
Half Time: 24-6
Full Time: 40-12
1. Shaun Ainscough; 2. Kane Feltham-Stout, 3. Oliver Farley, 4. Rob Hawthorne, 5. Jay Rossi; 6. Jordan Aitchison, 7. Marcus Elliott; 8. Jack Cockerham, 9. Conner Spencer, 10. Jonny Payne, 11. Matt Bailey, 12. Michael Platt, 13. Jobe Murphy.
Subs: 14. Michael Boultwood, 15. Luke Wood, 16. Jack Dawson, 17. Alex Mellor.
1. Adam Swift; 5. Greg Wilde, 3. Ian Cross, 6. Mark Percival, 2. Corey Lee; 4. Josh Jones, 7. Danny Yates; 8. Jordan Hand, 9. Dom Speakman, 10. Ant Walker, 11. Jordan Case, 12. Joe Greenwood, 13. Danny Jones.
Subs: 14. Lewis Foster, 15. Alex Clare, 16. Alex Trumper, 17. Joe Bate.