THE Saints U16s Academy side got their campaign off to a winning start with a comprehensive 50-6 win over the Vikings at a drizzly Stobart Stadium on Thursday, writes Graham Henthorne.
Ten tries to one tells the story as the Saints led by a hat-trick to Aaron Smith, thoroughly dominated their hosts.
Jake Spedding got the first try outpacing the defence in the right corner after a big hit had dislodged the ball on the Vikings first possession.
From the kick off new boy Rickie Bailey at full back marked his debut with a great 70 metre try. Lewis Hatton poked his nose through the defensive line and put a great pass out to the supporting Bailey. He showed the full back the outside and then proceeded to go around him beating the cover to the line.
The Saints kept themselves ahead of the clock as Bobbie Williams started a bit of “anything you can do I can do better” streaking in from 90 metres. The Vikings put a cross kick up on the last which Williams attacked, caught on the full and then strolled around his opposite number into open space on his way to the posts.
The Saints weren’t only on fire in attack but were showing well in defence. A great kick from Josh Houghton was made even better by the chase from Jake Spedding and Kieron Herbert who tackled the winger in goal.
From the repeat set Smith dummied right taking three over for the first of his tries.
The Vikings were finding it increasingly difficult to get out of their half giving the Saints wonderful field position with which to mount their attacks. Yet another dart close to the line from Smith this time put influential standoff Morgan Knowles over.
A great pass out to the left saw Bobbie Williams just pushed into touch in the act of scoring but a minute later Knowles made up for it with a pass to Danny Richardson who stepped inside the defence to score.
Saints coaching staff Ian Lomax and Eric Frodsham were more than happy with their charges at the break just urging the Saints to keep up the effort for the second period.
The Vikings made a much better fist of it in the second period showing more enthusiasm in defence which posed some different problems for the Saints. It took 10 minutes but eventually they got to grips with them and normal service was resumed with Smith diving over unopposed at the line.
From a penalty on the 30 metre line David Eccleston dummied his way over for a good individual effort.
From the kick off the Saints blotted their copybook as indecision led to the Vikings gaining possession on the Saints line and charging over for their consolation score.
The last quarter belonged to the Saints. Bailey stepped his way in for his second and Smith scored yet another try from one metre out to end the scoring.
Whilst there will be much stiffer tests to come this was an impressive first outing for the Saints. Joe McLoughlin, Jake Campbell, James Nicholl and Lewis Hatton set the base for Smith Knowles and debutant Richardson to move the team about expertly. There is abundant pace in the back line with the starting back three of Bailey, Herbert and Williams ably supported by yet another debutant Joey Brady off the bench.
Tries: Curtis Berry.
Goals: Joe Lyons.
St Helens U16s:
Tries: Rickie Bailey 2, Bobbie Williams, Dave Eccleston, Jake Spedding, Morgan Knowles, Aaron Smith 3, Danny Richardson.
Goals: Morgan Knowles 5.
Half Time: 32-0
Full Time: 50-6
1. Theo Holt; 2. Jack May, 3. Callum Edwards, 4. Ryan Ince, 5. Eddie Connor; 6. Joe Lyons, 7. Konagh Hill; 8. Caylum Williams, 9. Jack Bond, 10. Ste Fenney, 11. Jack Houghton, 12. Shaun Mannion, 13. Sam Brady.
Subs: 14. Adam Kirby, 15. Louis Glover, 16. Connor Cutts, 17. Curtis Berry, 18. Josh Johnson, 19. Alex Smith, 20. James Bamford.
1. Rickie Bailey; 5. Kieron Herbert, 4. Jake Spedding, 3. Dave Eccleston, 2. Bobbie Williams; 6. Morgan Knowles, 7. Josh Houghton; 8. Joe McLaughlin, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Jake Campbell, 11. Liam Cooper, 12. Lewis Hatton, 14. Jonah Cunningham.
Subs: 13. Chris Worrall, 15. Danny Richardson, 16. Ben Morris, 17. Josh Jenkins, 18. James Nicholl, 19. Kieron Atherton, 21. Joey Brady.