SAINTS U16s finished their mini eight match season with a five and three record after a great 28-20 win over in East Hull.
A hat-trick and personal point’s tally of 20 points from left centre Lewis Furlong went a long way to cementing the win but this was off the back of the hard work of the rest of his team.
And a young team it was too. Coaches Ian Lomax and Eric Frodsham chose to give four players their debuts with half of the team still eligible to play at U15s level.
The Saints started in fine style dominating the opening 25 minutes but they could so easily have been behind as Rovers intercepted a lofted wide ball on their own 20 metre mark. It was all over a certain try but they had reckoned without Rob Fairclough. The scrum half didn’t do what some chasers do and try to catch them too early, he summed up the situation, pinned his ears back and caught the winger with inches to spare.
The Saints regrouped quickly, forced the error and set about opening the score for themselves.
The home side were short in numbers on the Saints left all day and in Fairclough, Costello and Furlong the Saints had just the combination to take advantage. The ball was passed left, Costello committed his opposite number before setting Furlong away. The centre then stepped his way inside to s core at the posts.
Minutes later and the chance to extend the lead was lost as Jack Highcock inexplicably knocked on under the posts from a gem of a pass from Daniel Lynch.
The home side were under siege at this point with the Saints squandered more chances as Costello chose not to pass to his wingers on no less than three occasions.
The home side were gaining in confidence but this was dashed as Brad Pinder opened his own personal account with a try from a dart at dummy half after Jack Cottington had been held short.
Rovers had the better of the final ten minutes with the Saints having to defend set after set on their own line as the penalty count against rose ever higher. But hold out they did in a great show of team work and spirit characterised by Matty Kilgannon’s big hit which forced the knock on and relieved all the pressure.
The second half started with Rovers reducing the defecit taking advantage of poor tackling to score.
The forwards led by Lynch, Cottington, Coleman and O’Mara were always able to make inroads and Furlong scored his second after another run from Cottington. The ball was spread left and the centre again stepped inside the cover, beating five on his way to the posts.
A 40/20 from the hosts and a try under the sticks gave them renewed vigour but a knock on on the next set allowed the Saints to strike back in double quick time. Debutant Ben Twist and O’Mara were stopped short but quick hands from Josh Ganson found the left wing combination and Furlong showed his class with a catch and pass which not only stood up the winger but gave Mitchell Davies outside him the space to dive over in the corner.
The hosts came back again with a try from a lucky ricochet on the last but crucially the simple conversion was missed keeping the Saints 6 in front.
Saints showed how far they have come as a team as they held their nerve in the final minutes and closed the game out. Again drives from Lynch and Cottington set up the field position, a quick play the ball and 40 metre break from Ganson put the hosts on the back foot and Furlong took full advantage stepping inside and out to score in the corner before kicking a wonderful touchline conversion.
Rovers ended with a consolation score but the Saints were full value for their win.
From a season that started with such a disastrous performance against Hull FC the Saints have ended with a winning streak which deserves a champagne send off.
Tries: Josh Caville, Matty Norman, Joe Macklin, Ellis Mennell.
Goals: Josh Caville 2.
Tries: Lewis Furlong 3, Brad Pinder, Mitchell Davies.
Goals: Lewis Furlong 4.
Half Time: 10-0
Full Time: 28-20
1. Joe Wardle; 2. Connah Noble, 3. Harry Inman, 4. Josh Caville, 5. Max Riseham; 6. Matty Norman, 7. Tom Jubb; 8. Joe Macklin, 9. Harvey Gotts, 10. Ellis Mennell, 11. Anton Robinson, 12. Chris Brown, 13. Joe Cator.
Subs: 14. Kenan Stephenson, 15. Harry Hutchinson, 16. Alex Turner, 17. Charlie Cartmell, 18. Liam Moss, 19. Joe Appleyard, 20. Oliver Shipley.
1. Matthew Costello; 2. Jack Highcock, 3. Kevin Brown, 4. Lewis Furlong, 5. Jordan Gibbons; 6. Elliot Jenkins, 7. Rob Fairclough; 8. Daniel Lynch, 9. Josh Ganson, 10. Jack Cottington, 11. Daniel Edwards, 12. Matthew Kilgannon, 13. Kieran O’Mara.
Subs: 14. Brad Pinder, 15. Adam Causey, 16. Harry Coleman, 17. Ben Twist, 18. Ben Heyes, 19. Jorge Lewtas, 20. Mitchell Davies.