19s Win Friendly Opener

THE U19s got their season off to a winning start with a hard fought 26-4 win over a resilient Catalans team, writes Graham Henthorne.

As always a new season brings new personnel and a bedding down process but there wasn’t much time for that as Derek Traynor’s new charges were given a stern test from the start by the visiting Dragons.

A stray Saints forward pass on half way gave the Dragons the ball and they really should have opened the scoring but a forward pass of their own with the line begging spared the Saints blushes.

The first score of the new season was reserved for winger Dave Eccleston as he finished in the corner after some good approach work. An offload from prop Ross McCauley put Olly Davies away. He was caught from behind five metres from the line but managed to offload to his winger who crossed in the corner.

It was nip and tuck for the next twenty minutes or so with the Saints spurning chances notably Regan Grace being stopped short and Danny Richardson just getting ahead of himself in support of a delightful break from Dave Hewitt.

However, the visitors had chances of their own requiring some great lat ditch defence over the line from Eccleston and his centre partner Jake Spedding to keep the line intact.

Five minutes from the break the Saints extended the lead as Eccleston got his second. A weaving run down the middle from Hewitt saw Liam Cooper stopped short on the fifth. But a quick play the ball and intelligent grubber from Davies across to the left corner saw the winger in acres of space and able to touch down. Hewitt was successful with the conversion to give the Saints a ten point cushion at the interval.

Coach Traynor, in true friendly fashion, made six changes at the break to give everyone a run out.

Despite the wholesale changes the Saints managed to create and spurn two more chances when a wide ball down the right would have seen a try.

As with any good side if you don’t put them to bed they will bounce back and that’s exactly what the Dragons did crossing the whitewash after ten minutes despite a try saving tackle from Ricky Bailey in the build up.

The try gave the visitors hope and renewed vigour and they tore into the Saints who blew another try with the final ball to Dave Hewitt from Regan Grace going down.

But Grace was to make up the error minutes later as he crowned a sparkling display with a cameo of the speed that fans can look forward to all season as he scooted around his opposite number. Morgan Knowles had made the initial break through the line being hauled down just short on the right. From the play the ball quick hands from Davies and the ;promising Ben Morris put Grace away.

The Dragons weren’t done, however as they again should have scored knocking on over the line after a Saints pass went astray yet again.
The match was finally put to bed in the final ten minutes as the Saints scored twice more.

The first came after some great interplay down the right from Bailey and Eccleston saw the full back take the return inside ball to go under the sticks.

The best was saved for last though as some sparkling handling on the last saw Danny Richardson under the posts. Morris, Spedding, and Bailey put Eccleston away down the right wing and the fullback was in support to take the inside ball again before committing his opposite number then feeding his eager stand off who finished a stylish Saints try.
There were understandably some rusty bits in the performance but there were also many good bits. The visitors produced probably the most meaningful Friendly that the Saints could have wished for to set them in good stead for next Thursday’s season opener proper against the Rhinos at Stanningley.

Match Summary:

Saints U19s:
Tries: Ricky Bailey, Regan Grace, David Eccleston 2, Danny Richardson.
Goals: Danny Richardson 2, Dave Hewitt.

Catalans U19s:
Tries: Arthur Romano.

Half Time: 10-0
Full Time: 26-4


1. Ricky Bailey; 5. Regan Grace, 4. Matty Fleming, 3. Jake Spedding, 2. David Eccleston; 6. Danny Richardson, 7. Dave Hewitt; 8. Ross McCauley, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Phil Atherton, 11. Olly Davies, 12. Liam Cooper, 13. Morgan Knowles.
Subs: 14. Jonah Cunningham, 15. Matty Lees, 16. Lewis Hatton, 17. James Nicholl, 18. Ben Morris, 19. Joe Ryan, 20. Josh Eaves, 21. Chris Worrall, 22. Lewis Fairhurst.

1. Amine Miloudi; 2. Ilias Bergal, 3. Arthur Romano, 4. Paul Izard, 5. Fouad Yaha; 6. Lucas Albert, 7. Clement Herrero; 8. Lambert Belmas, 9. Adrix Dacosta, 10. Quentin Queneuer, 11. Jordan Dezaria, 12. Sebastien Niecthe, 13. Laurent Castaillet.
Subs: 14. Mathieu Touena, 15. Olivier Ruiz, 16. Omer Djalout, 17. Paul Seguier, 18. Bruno Castany, 19. Charlie Bey.

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