A CONSUMMATELY professional first half display saw the Saints home in Friday night’s curtain raiser at Langtree Park. The game again mirrored the first team’s performance in that it was done and dusted by half time and the Saints found it hard to get back to the same intensity in the second stanza eventually winning 50-16, writes Graham Henthorne, Team Manager.
The opening quarter of an hour was an arm wrestle with both teams struggling for supremacy, but significantly the Saints defensive effort meant the Broncos almost exclusively kicked on their own 40 whereas the Saints started their sets in the same position.
This pressure finally tolled on the visitors as they knocked on in their own half. Four tackles later and great interplay between Dave Hewitt and Olly Davies saw the half back take the return pass on the inside to score under the posts.
Both Hewitt and his half back partner Dan Abram were kicking well in play constantly turning the visitors around and one such kick lead to a repeat set and the Saints second try. Luke Thompson, back from first team duty, poked his nose through the line and his quick play the ball allowed Connor Dwyer to drag two tacklers over the line with him.
The game was taken away from the Broncos with three tries in the final ten minutes of the first period. Ben Parry scored his first diving under the tackle to score after big Ross McAuley had been stopped short.
Adam Hesketh continued his return to form charging under the sticks after Dwyer and Matty Fozard had gone close.
Then on the stroke of half time Jack Ashworth scored the best of the lot. Connor Dwyer sent a pass out of the back of his hand to Ashworth who in turn fed Lewis Galbraith. The winger looked to have been pushed into touch but slung the ball back inside to the supporting Ashworth for the try.
As is sometimes the way the Saints, despite trying their best, the Saints never regained the intensity of the first period.
They were the first on the scoresheet, however, as Ben Parry extended the lead racing 95 metres down the left after plucking a bomb from the clutches of his opposite number.
Poor handling allowed the visitors to open their account virtually straight from the kick off and when they scored on their next set visions of another Featherstone were starting to appear over the horizon.
Matty Fleming steadied the ship with his second in the left corner after Galbraith had raced 50 metres down the opposite flank.
The Broncos replied again but two tries in the final 15 minutes took the game away from them.
Connor Dwyer took advantage of the Saints first penalty 65 minutes in bursting through some wafer thin tackling after Thompson and James Tilley had set up the position.
Olly Davies bombed a second try for Fleming by not passing to his centre but made up for it bringing up the half century as he latched onto a delightful grubber from Dan Abram.
The first half was back to something like the Academy of the early season as they dominated the opposition giving them little time or space to think.
The half backs combination of Hewitt and Abram looked good on the ball while Chris Webster and Tilley both ran Thompson and Dwyer close for best on the field.
Tries: Jack Ashworth, Matty Fleming, Ben Parry 2, Dave Hewitt, Olly Davies, Connor Dwyer 2, Adam Hesketh.
Goals: Dave Hewitt 7.
Tries: Richard Harris, Harry Griffiths, Patrick Mooney.
Goals: Joe Keyes 2.
Half Time: 28-0
Full Time: 50-16
20. Adam Saunders; 2. Lewis Galbraith, 4. Jack Ashworth, 3. Matty Fleming, 5. Ben Parry; 6. Dave Hewitt, 7. Dan Abram; 8. Chris Webster, 9. Dom Speakman, 10. Luke Thompson, 11. Olly Davies, 12. Connor Dwyer, 13. James Tilley.
Subs: 14. Matty Fozard, 15. Adam Hesketh, 17. Ross McCauley, 21. Joe Ryan.
1. Jonathan Smith; 5. Dapo Awolfo, 4. Richard Harris, 3. Harry Griffiths, 2. Saeed Agboke; 6. George Taylor, 7. Joe Keyes; 8. Toby Everett, 9. Shaun Keen, 10. Patrick Mooney, 11. Kieran Morgan, 12. Anthony Cox, 13. Dan Igbinedion.
Subs: 14. Liam O’Callaghan, 15. John Wallace, 16. Oliver Thoms, 18. Sam Druce.