St Helens U19s 58 v 18 Sheffield Eagles U19s
A commanding second half display from the Saints saw them overcome and eventually outclass the never-say-die visitors from over the Pennines but it took stern words at the break to snap the Saints into action, writes Graham Henthorne.
Whether complacency crept in due to the Eagles lowly position in the table or there was a hangover from Monday’s wonderful win at Headingley, the Saints were not at the races in the first half.
The visitors raced into a six point lead scoring on their first attack and made it ten on quarter time catching the Saints napping on an overlap down the right.
The visitors then gifted the Saints an opportunity to get back into the saddle committing their first error of the game by knocking on at the kick off. Two tackles from the scrum and Connor Dwyer took advantage of his power to score down the left.
Minutes later and props Greg Richards and James Tilley were driving the Saints forward. Lewis Charnock just got his nose through the line before offloading superbly to the supporting Dave Hewitt who went the final 40 metres to the line. Charnock’s conversion gave the Saints the lead.
Dwyer was held up over the line before a big tackle from Charnock caused the Eagles to knock on. Four tackles later great interplay between André Savelio (pictured against Leeds earlier in the season) and Tilley resulted in the big second row scoring at the posts.
The visitors showed great desire all through the game and again punished Saints indiscipline and poor tackling to score, the conversion bringing them back within two.
Saints’ blushes were spared just a little as Hewitt decided to run the ball on the last. Quick hands from Dwyer gave the ball to debutant Jordan Tisdale who took it 30 metres out. The scouser showed that it’s not all about the round ball in that city as he took it to the full back, dummied outside to his winger before diving over for a great individual try.
The half time wakeup call had the desired effect as the Saints came out with renewed vigour keeping the visitors scoreless after the break epitomised by Adam Saunders and Tom Roughley who saved tries with heroic last ditch tackling.
It was Roughley who capped a fine display off the bench with the opening score of the second period finishing a move he had started dummying his way to the sticks.
Connor Dwyer reprieved his run through the Eagles right side defence in the first half for his second try and the Saints were away.
Roughley again made a 40 metre break only to be caught by the full back but Greg Richards charged over for rare try from the play the ball.
The Eagles were finally starting to wilt in the sun and three tries in the final 15 minutes gave the score the look it should have had at the start of play.
Charnock broke through 60 metres out outpacing the cover to the sticks, then a great last tackle kick chase from Richards, Tilley and Joe Ryan forced the Eagles to drop out. Saunders took the drop out down the right, dummied to his winger before scoring in the corner.
The last act saw Jack Ashworth curve around the defence to score at the posts after a great 40/20 from Matty Fozard.
Plaudits must go to the Eagles who, despite the score, never gave up and pushed the Saints to the end.
Having said that had the Saints played anything like they did for 40 minutes over 80, then the final score would have been what this club should expect to be inflicting on winless bottom of the table sides.
Best for the Saints were Connor Dwyer and Tom Roughley with an encouraging, combative debut from Jordan Tisdale a highlight.
Tries: Adam Saunders, Jordan Tisdale, Jack Ashworth, Dave Hewitt, Greg Richards, André Savelio, Connor Dwyer 2, Tom Roughley, Lewis Charnock.
Goals: Lewis Charnock 9.
Tries: Nick Taylor, Eddie Medforth, Joe Wilmott.
Goals: Corey Aston 2.
Half Time: 22-16
Full Time: 58-16
20. Adam Saunders; 2. Matty Fleming, 4. Jack Ashworth, 3. Jordan Tisdale, 5. Ben Parry; 6. Dave Hewitt, 7. Dan Abram; 10. James Tilley, 9. Matty Fozard, 8. Greg Richards, 11. Connor Dwyer, 12. André Savelio, 13. Lewis Charnock.
Subs: 14. Tom Calland, 15. Tom Roughley, 17. Matt Cooke, 19. Joe Ryan.
1. Dan Saubney; 2. John Hale, 3. Nick Taylor, 4. Eddie Medforth, 5. Ryan Miller; 6. Corey Aston, 7. Callum Butler; 8. Joe Kenyon, 9. Greg Burns, 10. Liam Ellis, 11. Kadeem Williams, 12. Tom Bailey, 13. Joe Wilmott.
Subs: 14. Jack Mitchell, 15. Darren Ford, 16. Joe Bachelor, 17. Ben Mahmood.