St Helens Scholarship U16s 24 v 22 Widnes Scholarship U16s
This was a much different performance than the easy win against Warrington last time out for Eric Frodsham’s men, writes Graham Henthorne.
Despite lacking Olly Davies and Dave Hewitt on international duty, the Saints could and should have had this match sewn up at half time and should never have been pushed so close by the Vikings.
The Saints dug deep in the opening five minutes of the match repelling the Vikings for two repeat sets before forcing the error and then spent most of the half under little pressure.
Will Weir scored the first of his hat-trick to open the scoring falling on a loose ball over the line spilled by the full back from Dan Abram’s cross kick.
On the next set a drive from Dec Flannery put the Saints on the front foot and as the ball was spread wide the impressive Matty Whitley shot through a gap to score.
The Saints were less than clinical, however, constantly letting the Vikings off the hook and were reminded at half time of the need to take charge of the game down the middle.
This seemed to have sunk in as the second half opened with the pack looking for possession.
A charge down of Whitley’s last tackle kick was regathered by the centre who took it on but then, obviously not having heard the ref’s call of six to go, kicked ahead only to see Jordan Wakefield knock on as he tried to pick up the ball. Had Whitley passed it Wakefield would have strolled in.
A Tom Davies charge at the line extended the lead and when good hands from the hard working Josh Crehan to Adam Saunders and finally out to Weir put the big centre in for his second the game looked to be over.
But a simple offside in possession on our own 30 and some poor tackling gave the Vikings a sniff of a comeback and they took it with both hands.
They were back within eight as the winger scored in the corner but Weir’s hat-trick try seemed to have calmed the Saints nerves as Abram and then Ross McCauley were stopped short.
However, a knock on from the kick off and then a defensive error on the line 3 tackles later put the game back in the melting pot.
It was definitely squeaky bum time with four minutes to go as another Saints error gifted possession on our 30 and poor defence allowed the prop to side step his way over untouched to bring the visitors back to within two.
Thankfully the time ran out with the Saints hanging on for victory.
St Helens Scholarship U16s:
Tries: Matthew Whitley, Will Weir 3, Tom Davies.
Goals: Adam Saunders 2.
Widnes Scholarship U16s:
Tries: Matthew Barrow, Shaun Robinson, Ellis Sant, Teddy Chapelhow.
Goals: Joe Hollian 3.
Half Time: 8-0
Full Time: 24-22
1. Adam Saunders; 5. Scott Harrison, 3. Matthew Whitley, 4. Will Weir, 2. Joe Hilton; 6. Josh Crehan, 7. Dan Abram; 10. Tom Calland, 9. Tom Davies, 8. Robbie Hand, 11. Scott Oakes, 12. Declan Flannery, 13. Joe Ryan.
Subs: 14. Raith Stringer, 15. Jordan Wakefield, 16. Josh Swift, 17. Ross McCauley.
1. Matthew Barrow; 2. Shaun Robinson, 3. Joel Albiston, 4. James Chapelhow, 5. Niall Allen; 6. Connor Davies, 7. Matty Murphy; 8. Tom Smith, 9. Ellis Sant, 10. Teddy Chapelhow, 11. Olly Glover, 12. Karl Glover, 13. Almer Tagauna.
Subs: 14. Lewis Scott, 15. Ryan Briggs, 16. Joe Hollian, 17. Sam Heaton, 18. Shaun Leigh.