The U19s produced a sparkling display to trounce a resurgent Broncos outfit 42-16 on Saturday at the Stoop, writes Graham Henthorne.
With yet another of his charges making his debut for the First Team earlier (Luke Thompson), Coach Derek Traynor was forced into making another change to his line up this season. However, unlike in some previous displays it made no difference whatsoever as the Saints overwhelmed their opponents with aggressive defence and forceful attacking rugby.
The game was won in the first half as the Saints scored five tries to two totally demoralising the home side who given the Saints recent wobbles were expecting first team scrum half James Woodburn-Hall to dominate the visitors.
Connor Dwyer was first on the scoresheet as he took Dave Hewitt’s short ball to burst through some poor defence on their own line from the Broncos.
A rare knock on from the Saints on the restart gave the home side field position and they scored to the left of the sticks.
But from that point the Saints pack led by the outstanding Greg Richards took control not allowing their counterparts any space to breathe and forcing error after error in the process.
Jack Ashworth continued his improvement cutting back on the angle to score at the side of the posts to extend the lead on the quarter hour.
Although on this occasion it came to nought Hewitt gave notice of his abilities with the ball kicking a great 40/20 on quarter time.
The Saints then took the game away from their hosts with two tries in as many minutes after big hits forced knock-ons on the second tackle deep in their own territory.
Firstly Richards got his just rewards going over unopposed from Dom Speakman’s ball then Matty Fleming showed his strength taking two over with him to score in the left corner.
The Saints were cruising at this stage. Dave Hewitt made a break from which Richards and Matty Fozard were held short but as the ball was spun right a great tip on from Greg Wilde gave his winger Lewis Galbraith just enough space to sneak in at the corner taking a bad knock for his pains.
The home side scored just before the break to give themselves a glimmer of hope but more of the same form the Saints early in the second period snuffed that out.
A fabulous 60 metre break from Dan Abram, revelling in his natural scrum half position, deserved more as the supporting Olly Davies was caught from behind but despite a repeat set came to nought.
The pressure finally tolled as Chris Webster was rewarded for a combative display off the bench as he finished off a quick tap penalty move. Having bravely tapped instead of kicking for touch Fozard did very well to offload out of the tackle where the ball was moved left for Abram to put his prop in.
We saw a glimpse of the talent of the home scrum half as he broke through 15 metres out beating the Saints cove to the line. But the Saints dusted themselves down getting back to work snuffing out the home side.
Further tries to Captain James Tilley after good work by Richards and Matt Cooke and a second to Galbraith after a delightful short side move gave the Saints a comfortable victory.
This was a thoroughly pleasing display of good rugby league from a committed side. The forwards led by Tilley, Dwyer, Webster and Cooke were dominant allowing Speakman, Hewitt and Abram their run of the field. Ben Parry showed good awareness in defence but the stand out player on the pitch was Greg Richards who can’t be far behind his other teammates in knocking on a certain Coach’s door.
Tries: James Woodburn-Hall, Harry Little, Liam O’Callaghan.
Goals: Charlie Lawrence 2.
Tries: Matty Fleming, Lewis Galbraith 2, Greg Richards, James Tilley, Jack Ashworth, Connor Dwyer, Chris Webster.
Goals: Dave Hewitt 5.
Half Time: 26-10
Full Time: 42-16
1. George Taylor; 2. Saeed Agboke, 3. Harvey Burnett, 4. Richard Harris, 5. Brandon Johnson; 7. Charlie Lawrence, 6. James Woodburn-Hall; 8. Anthony Cox, 9. Shaun Keen, 10. Elliot Barnes, 11. Harry Little, 12. Harry Griffiths, 13. Joel Wickes.
Subs: 14. Liam O’Callaghan, 15. Jonathan Wallace, 16. Sam Druce, 17. Oliver Toms.
1. Adam Saunders; 2. Lewis Galbraith, 4. Greg Wilde, 3. Matty Fleming, 5. Ben Parry; 6. Dave Hewitt, 7. Dan Abram; 8. Greg Richards, 9. Dom Speakman, 10. James Tilley, 11. Olly Davies, 12. Jack Ashworth, 13. Connor Dwyer.
Subs: 14. Matty Fozard, 15. Adam Hesketh, 17. Matt Cooke, 19. Chris Webster.