Academy Win Eighth On Trot

IT was left to big Ross McCauley to save the U19s blushes with a try five minutes from time which gave the Saints enough of a cushion to hang on 28-18, writes Graham Henthorne.

The trouble was by the end the Saints were hanging on in a game which again they had dominated for large periods of the first half but let the opposition back into it through a combination of ill discipline and poor decision making.

Never was that more evident than in their first attack of the game when a Danny Richardson bullet pass ricocheted off Olly Davies and the try went begging.

The Saints opened their account on the quarter hour when Josh Eaves, making his first proper start for the Saints as an eleventh hour replacement for Aaron Smith who was injured in the warm-up, jumped out of dummy half and went blind. He fed Calvin Wellington and the big Welsh centre jinked his way over in the corner.

Great defensive work then gave the Saints the chance to increase their lead. From the start the Saints had been aggressive in defence regularly making it difficult for Rovers to exit their 20 metre area after some great last tackle kicks from Richardson and his half back partner Dave Hewitt. On this occasion the second tackle forced the knock on and from the scrum the ball was passed quickly out to the wing for Dave Eccleston to go over.

The Saints continued their dominance but found it difficult to convert pressure into points until the half hour when a great set resulted in a chance for Regan Grace to show his silky running skills. Rick Bailey took a Rovers kick on the full returning it fully 40 metres down the left. Three tackles later and the ball found its way down the opposite wing to Jake Spedding who brought his winger inside giving him a sniff of a gap. Grace duly obliged weaving his way through and around four Rovers defenders to the line.

However, the interval saw the game turn on its head and on the back of a bewildering 7 – 1 penalty count the Saints found themselves only six points to the good with 25 minutes to go.

Then another piece of Bailey/Grace magic put the Saints in the ascendency again. The full back saved a 40/20 then fed Grace who, as is his wont, charged at the defensive line poking his nose half through. That was enough, however, as he offloaded to the supporting Hewitt who outpaced the cover over 40 metres to the left corner.

As ever with Rovers they keep coming at you and were rewarded with a significant piece of luck as from this correspondent’s view a second try was awarded to their prop which seemed to have been dropped from a great height.

Four points in it again, the Saints are running out of subs and on empty and the game is on a knife edge. Enter Eaves and McCauley to rescue the day. Firstly the hooker charged down a last tackle clearing kick and luckily managed to gather the ball on the Rovers 20. With all the Rovers team down field for the kick a quick play the ball left big Ross with 20 metres to rung and no-one in front of him. There did seem to be a slight hesitation before he realised that even he could trundle over from there.

A win’s a win is an oft used phrase with the Saints at the moment and this match was no different. Plenty tried hard but plenty were either a little dumb in possession or ill disciplined without it.

Best of an average bunch was Morgan Knowles who again gave his all this time in a variety of positions.

Match Summary:

Saints U19s:
Tries: Regan Grace, Calvin Wellington, David Eccleston, Dave Hewitt, Ross McCauley.
Goals: Dave Hewitt 4.

Hull KR U19s:
Tries: Chris Smith 2, Aidan Armstrong.
Goals: Elliott Kerry 2, Liam Harris.

Half Time: 18-0

Full Time: 28-18


20. Ricky Bailey; 2. Regan Grace, 3. Jake Spedding, 4. Calvin Wellington, 5. David Eccleston; 6. Danny Richardson, 7. Dave Hewitt; 8. Ross McCauley, 14. Josh Eaves, 10. Joe Ryan, 11. Olly Davies, 12. Liam Cooper, 13. Morgan Knowles.
Subs: 15. Phil Atherton, 17. Matty Lees, 16. Ben Morris, 22. Lewis Hatton.

Hull KR:
4. Elliott Kerry; 22. Connor Noble, 2. Ben Holdstock, 20. , Joe Cator, 24. Harry Craggs; 23. Matty Norman, 7. Liam Harris; 17. Chris Smith, 9. Macca Duke, 8. Steve Holker, 11. Aidan Armstrong, 12. Harry Aldous, 13. George Lawler.
Subs: 10. Josh Hamilton, 14. William Jubb, 15. Liam Wake, 29. Alfie Potter.

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