SAINTS Coach Derek Traynor fielded the youngest U19s team this season with no fewer than five players from last year’s U16s squad against a game Featherstone side – and they emerged victorious 36-20, writes Graham Henthorne.
The Saints were the first on the board with a try to the find of the season so far, Jack Ashworth. Lewis Charnock charged a last tackle clearing kick down regathering possession in the process. Strong drives from Olly Davies and Greg Richards put the Saints on the front foot and from the play the ball a neat offload out of the tackle from Jordan Heaton allowed Ashworth to cut back inside for the try
Rovers were denied a try by a brave last ditch tackle form full back Adam Saunders. A suspiciously adjacent pass on the Saints 10 metre line put the big Rovers prop through one on one with Saunders but the full back stood tall holding the man up until help arrived.
Saunders then showed the other side to his game scoring the first of his brace on quarter time. Jordan Heaton showed some enterprise spreading the ball on the last to Saunders who slipped free of the tackle to round the cover scoring in the left corner.
A speculative last tackle grubber from Charnock rebounded fortuitously straight into his hands giving him an easy stroll in for the Saints third try five minutes later.
His second goal put the Saints 16 points to the good but it was still a very disjointed display from the Saints. The visitors grew in confidence resulting in a try from a high bomb on the half hour.
The introduction from the bench of debutant Tom Calland gave the Saints a much needed boost as the big prop showed some of his teammates how it should be done taking it to the opposition both with and without the ball.
The second half started with the Saints extending their lead thanks to an Olly Davies try. Great hounding defence on the last tackle forced Rovers 20 metres back towards their own line before being tackled in possession. Four tackles later and good passing from the left from Heaton and Charnock put Davies into enough space for the second row to power his way to the line.
Yet another knock on on the last gave the visitors the easiest of replies and yet more enthusiasm.
A poor Rovers pass on their own was swooped on by Greg Richards whose quick thinking released Charnock who found Davies who should have scored but passed it out to Greg Wilde for the eventual try.
Charnock continued his off day with the boot missing his third but he made amends minutes later converting the Saints last two tries in quick succession.
Firstly Saunders got his second again outpacing the cover on an arcing run to the corner after a big hit had dislodged the ball in Rovers half. The last try was a forwards affair as Richards got some just rewards alternating carries with Matt Cooke and scoring by the sticks.
Two late Rovers tries spoiled the day for the Saints giving the score an air of respectability.
As disjointed as this display was it resulted in a welcome two points for the Saints and brought to an end a nightmare run of defeats. Maybe this will give confidence levels a much needed boost and the team can kick on to regaining some of the dominance shown in earlier rounds.
Calland and Davies went well up front, Saunders provided the cutting edge at the back but Ashworth and Richards just about shared the honours this evening.
Tries: Adam Saunders 2, Greg Wilde, Lewis Charnock, Greg Richards, Olly Davies, Jack Ashworth.
Goals: Lewis Charnock 4.
Tries: Matty Brook, Liam Dodman, Callum Stewart, Sam Day.
Goals: James Glover 2.
Half Time: 16-4
Full Time: 36-20
1. Adam Saunders; 2. Liam Forsyth, 3. Greg Wilde, 4. Matty Fleming, 5. Ben Parry; 6. Lewis Charnock, 7. Jordan Heaton; 8. Greg Richards, 9. Dom Speakman, 10. Matt Cooke, 11. Olly Davies, 12. Jack Ashworth, 13. Connor Dwyer.
Subs: 14. Tom Roughley, 15. Tom Calland, 17. Joe Ryan, 19. Chris Webster.
1. James Glover; 2. Lewis Price, 3. Matty Brook, 4. Liam Dodman, 5. Jordan Potter; 6. Chad Moss, 7. Jordan Myers; 8. Luke Cooper, 9. Sam Day, 10. Jack Coventry, 11. Alec Batty, 12. Callum Stewart, 13. Ben Brailsford.
Subs: 14. Tom Mulhern, 15. Sean Gee, 16. Ash Hill, 17. Brad Cox.