SAINTS U19s put on the perfect curtain raiser to the main event with a nine try 48-10 demolition of the Auld Enemy, writes Graham Henthorne.
In oppressively humid and hot conditions the Saints took control in the latter stages of the first half putting the game out of reach.
Lewis Galbraith was close to continuing his rich vein of form as he was just prevented from opening the scoring as he was ankle tapped as he streaked away from the cover.
The relief for the visitors was short-lived; however, as aggressive defence forced the error on the second tackle from the scrum. Three tackles later and the increasingly impressive Connor Dwyer was sauntering through a massive hole on his way to the first Saints try.
The visitors took advantage of a steeping penalty count to even the scores. But as the game entered the second quarter the Saints superior fitness and ball control took its toll allowing full back Danny Abram to score a brace of tries.
The first came after the Saints received their first penalty of the game 24 minutes in. Drives from Greg Richards and Adam Hesketh, having his best game for many a month, put the Saints on the front foot. When the ball was spread to the right Abram injected himself in to the line, stepping off his right foot and reaching out for a great try.
Then came a Saints special. Galbraith expertly gathered a last tackle kick behind his own line before speeding along the line and feeding opposite winger Ben Parry who cleared the lines. The forwards rolled up their sleeves before Abram again popped up this time racing 60 metres through the middle of the ruck and outpacing his opposite number to the sticks.
A 16 – 4 lead at the break would have been good but two tries in the final three minutes of the half really killed off the visitors.
A dart from dummy half by a rejuvenated Dom Speakman found Dwyer on the burst. In a planned move he in turn found Lewis Charnock on his inside who was stopped just short. From the play the ball Hesketh got his just deserts charging onto the ball for his first try of the year.
In the last play of the half Danny Yates profited from another Speakman break sprinting the final distance to the sticks.
Knowing that the job was only half done and how poorly the Saints had started second halves recently, much emphasis was put into reversing that trend by the coaching staff at the break. Their wishes were made into reality courtesy of Hesketh again forcing an error with a big hit in the opening set.
There followed a steady stream of tries with only a consolation in reply.
Charnock gathered a knocked down pass on the visitors 30 metre line, fed his winger Parry who jinked his way off his left foot twice to touch down for the sixth try.
Charnock then notched his own four pointer popping up at the right time to take Yates’ pass after a fine offload from Captain James Tilley.
Matty Fozard showed great awareness and soft hands as he won the race to mop up a difficultly bouncing chip kick. Jack Ashworth was the beneficiary as he barged over in the corner four tackles later.
The final act was deservedly reserved for Captain Tilley as he crowned another solidly impressive performance with a try to the right of the sticks.
After the disappointment of a one point loss last week the Saints bounced back in the best of styles with a thoroughly professional demolition job. On the back of a 90% completion rate in both halves the Saints were never really under any pressure producing the consummate team performance and a real boost before the very difficult trip to Hull next Saturday.
Tries: Dan Abram 2, Jack Ashworth, Ben Parry, Lewis Charnock, Danny Yates, Connor Dwyer, James Tilley, Adam Hesketh.
Goals: Lewis Charnock 5, Matty Fozard.
Tries: David Thompson, Kieron Sharratt.
Goals: Callum Wright.
Half Time: 28-4
Full Time: 48-10
20. Dan Abram; 2. Lewis Galbraith, 4. Jack Ashworth, 3. Matty Fleming, 5. Ben Parry; 6. Lewis Charnock, 7. Danny Yates; 8. Greg Richards, 9. Matty Fozard, 10. Chris Webster, 11. Luke Thompson, 12. Connor Dwyer, 13. James Tilley.
Subs: 14. Dom Speakman, 15. Adam Hesketh, 17. Joe Ryan, 21. Tom Calland.
1. Gabriel Fell; 2. David Thompson, 3. Dom Manfredi, 4. Oliver Gildart, 5. Mike Scrivens; 6. Jake Shorrocks, 7. Joe Prior; 8. Ben Austin, 9. Callum Wright, 10. Joe Bretherton, 11. Grant Beecham, 12. Robert Lever, 13. Kieron Sharratt.
Subs: 14. Brad Lawrence, 15. Zac Dewhirst, 16. Ellis Grimes, 17. Luke Waterworth.