19s Win The Big One

DEPSITE having half as many top age group players the Saints showed just what guts, determination, pride in the jersey and not a little talent can do for you in an eight try 44-24 demolition at Langtree on Saturday which handed the visitors their first defeat of the season, writes Graham Henthorne.

The Saints were determined to reverse the recent past at this level and started the game in that fashion with two tries in an explosive opening five minutes.

A great defensive set meant the opposition kicking from deep resulting in poor distance. The Saints pounded the line but a neat grubber from Danny Richardson on the last broke free and he followed up to dive on the loose ball for the try.

The second again came from a forced error dropped ball on the 30 metre line. Olly Davies eventually took Lewis Fairhurst’s short ball beating the cover to the corner.

Saints first mistake unfortunately cost them a try as an early tackle knock on was picked up and four tackles later the winger scored in the corner.

The visitors took the lead with two tries in as many minutes around the half hour mark. Poor play gifted possession to the visitors and the Saints found themselves behind in a match they had been dominating for large periods.

They showed their mettle as they regrouped under the posts, came back with renewed vigour and were rewarded with a try on the stroke of oranges. Big drives from perpetual motion man Matty Lees and Liam Cooper put the Saints under the sticks on the last and Morgan Knowles got the first of his brace collecting Richardson grubber to score. Lewis Fairhurst’s third of the half made the lead for at the break.

The second half was a completely different affair as the Saints refocused on the game plan and strangled the visitors out of the game.

Great kicking from Richardson and Fairhurst gave the Saints three repeat sets on the opposition try line. The line was finally breached with a bit of individual brilliance from Fairhurst. On the last he dummied outside before scooting through the line. The ball was knocked out of his grasp but he regathered and touched down for a deserved score.

The visitors briefly threatened with their fourth try but this was immediately cancelled out as the Saints regained control. Regan Grace finally slipped his shackles with a 30 metre break down the middle earning himself a penalty in the process. Drives from Ross MacCauley, Joe Ryan and Aaron Smith put the Saints inches away and from the play the ball Knowles went over for his second.

Grace got a try of his own as he finished off a great move bravely diving in at the corner after a fine tip on from his centre Matty Fleming.

From the kick off the Saints were denied a clean break as Fleming was deemed to have obstructed the defence as Smith went through a yawning gap with clear green grass ahead of him and Grace screaming up on his outside.

Normal service was resumed though as yet another repeat set and punishing drives from Ryan and MacCauley allowed Fleming to cross on the left.

The final try in the last minute was the game in a microcosm as a big defensive effort forced a repeat set and four tackles later Smith dove over unopposed for the Saints eighth score of the game.

This was a fabulous team performance from a young Saints side that showed real team spirit. The visitors couldn’t cope with the Saints second half possession rate of 95% and in the end were sick of the sight of MacCauley, Ryan, Lees and Chris Worrall ploughing through them. Couple that with Smith and the lively Josh Eaves at hooker, with Fairhurst and Richardson supplying possession for the speed and power of the backs out wide and the Saints have a team which must be taken seriously by anybody they face.

Match Summary:

Saints U19s:
Tries: Matty Fleming, Regan Grace, Lewis Fairhurst, Aaron Smith, Danny Richardson, Olly Davies, Morgan Knowles 2.
Goals: Lewis Fairhurst 5, Danny Richardson.

Wigan U19s:
Tries: David Thompson, Luke Waterworth, Liam Parsley, Jake Moore, Gabriel Fell.
Goals: Jake Shorrocks 2.

Half Time: 18-14
Full Time: 44-24


1. Ricky Bailey; 2. David Eccleston, 3. Jake Spedding, 4. Matty Fleming, 5. Regan Grace; 6. Danny Richardson, 7. Lewis Fairhurst; 8. Ross McCauley, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Joe Ryan, 11. Olly Davies, 12. Liam Cooper, 13. Morgan Knowles.
Subs: 14. Josh Eaves, 15. Chris Worrall, 16. Lewis Hatton, 17. Matty Lees.

1. Gabriel Fell; 5. Tom Davies, 4. Jack Higginson, 3. Oliver Gildart, 2. David Thompson; 6. Jake Shorrocks, 7. Craig Mullen; 8. Joe Bretherton, 9. Luke Waterworth, 10. Brad Lawrence, 11. Jack Wells, 12. MacCauley Davies, 13. Kyle Shelford.
Subs: 16. Max Dudley, 17. Kieran Sharrett, 18. Liam Parsley, 19. Jake Moore.

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