U16s Take Derby Spoils

ALTHOUGH some of them might not know it, this is probably the biggest match some of the Saints players will have played in. Representing your country’s good but to the majority of Saints people present in the healthy crowd this means more, and what a way for the lads to repay them with a come from behind 30-26 win, writes Graham Henthorne, Team Manager.

Rocked by the withdrawal of influential hooker Aaron Smith during the warm-up the Saints were forced into a five player reshuffle with Josh Houghton coming onto the bench.

The opening ten minutes were just as you would expect a local derby to be. Both sets of forwards testing each other out, with some big hits from Phil Atherton, Joe McLoughlin and Chris Worrall rattling the teeth of their opponents.

Replacement hooker Lewis Fairhurst showed the sort of determination required to win these games as he saved a certain try with a fabulous one on one tackle over the line.

Unfortunately a series of repeat sets gave the visitors momentum and they took the lead with a try by the posts.

The Saints should have levelled minutes later as Captain Lewis Hatton knocked on with the line at his mercy.

However, this was rectified on the next set as Danny Richardson opened the Saints account finishing off a spectacular Saints try. A kick on the last saw the Saints winger Kieron Herbert pick the ball up on his own five metre line. He weaved in and out of the fractured defensive line over 60 metres eventually veering inside towards the supporting Richardson. But, as easy as it would have been, he didn’t rush the pass but sent a great ball to his scrum half allowing him to outpace the cover over the final 35 metres.

The Saints then took the lead as Ricky Bailey scored the first of his brace. Three short side plays had dragged the cover over and from the play the ball quick hands from Morgan Knowles and Hatton put Bailey clear.

The Saints failed to show the killer instinct necessary and allowed the visitors to retake the lead with two tries in the final five minutes to go in 10 – 16 down.

As disappointing as the end to the half had been the coaching staff addressed the issues, the players took them on board and then went out and put them into action.

The visitors knocked on from the first play of the second period and Lewis Hatton made them pay rounding the cover to score out wide.

After the visitors had knocked on over the line, Hatton edged the Saints ahead with his second, again crucially unconverted.

The game was rapidly becoming a see-saw affair as the Saints put the kick off out on the full compounding the error with poor tackling to allow the visitors to retake the lead.

But two tries in as many glorious minutes gave the Saints a stranglehold that they didn’t relinquish.

Bailey again showed his pace to finish in the corner after quick short passing from Richardson and Knowles had put him free.

It was Richardson’s great kick that led to Dave Eccleston scoring the winning try. The kick held up in the wind and a great chase from Eccleston meant he met the ball before the full back. He hacked on taking the ball on the bounce and diving over for the try.

After missing two easier kicks, Fairhurst converted both from the touchline to put the Saints two scores ahead.

Just as well as there was just time for a tired defence to be punctured once more but the whistle blew giving the Saints the spoils.

This was as good a performance as the U16s have produced this season under the biggest amount of situational pressure they have been under this season.

Not all have been mentioned but all played their part in sending home some very happy spectators to have a very happy weekend in the sun.

Match Summary:

St Helens:
Tries: Ricky Bailey 2, David Eccleston, Danny Richardson, Lewis Hatton 2.
Goals: Lewis Fairhurst 3.

Tries: Isaac Noi, Alex Gaskell, Brad Burgess, Jordan Hill, Macaulay Davies.
Goals: Tom Dempsey 3.

Half Time: 10-16
Full Time: 30-26


1. Ricky Bailey; 5. Joey Brady, 4. Jake Spedding, 3. David Eccleston, 2. Kieron Herbert; 13. Morgan Knowles, 6. Danny Richardson; 8. Phil Atherton, 9. Lewis Fairhurst, 17. Joe McLoughlin, 11. Liam Cooper, 12. Lewis Hatton, 10. Chris Worrall.
Subs: 9. Josh Houghton, 14. Jonah Cunningham, 15. Ryan Lynch, 16. Jake Campbell, 18. Josh Jenkins, 19. Ben Morris, 21. Bobby Williams.

1. Jack Higginson; 5. Brad Burgess, 3. Tom Dempsey, 4. Alex Gaskell, 2. Isaac Noi; 6. Ryan Houghton, 7. Mark Roper; 8. Jack Rush, 9. Jordan Hill, 10. Max Dudley, 11. Macaulay Davies, 12. Jake Moore, 13. Kyle Shelford.
Subs: 14. Patrick Casey, 15. Jordan Jones, 16. Adam Thompson, 17. Luke Randall, 18. Callum Field, 19. Lewis Heckford, 20. Lewis Fox.

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