Knowles Leads Saints To Top

SOMETIMES you win games despite the fact that it seems like you’re trying your best to lose them, writes Graham Henthorne.

Eight times the Saints turned over possession on first or second tackle in their own half in the second period alone giving Rovers all the encouragement in the World to do what they do best, attack in the home 20 metre area.

When the Saints managed to hold the ball they made easy yards, kicked reasonably well and pushed the visitors deep into their own half. Which they then found nigh on impossible to get out of. Not difficult to see how the game could and should have been won.

Saints were in total control of the game in the first quarter having built up a 12 point lead courtesy of tries from Liam Cooper, Morgan Knowles and Regan Grace.

Cooper benefitted from a quick play the ball from Levy Nzoungou, starting the first game of his career in the red vee, and a short pass from Danny Richardson.

Knowles scored by taking a smart pass from Rob Fairclough whose quick thinking from a free play allowed Grace to show a clean pair of heels to all and sundry taking the bouncing ball and streaking 40 metres to the posts.

However, the second quarter belonged to the visitors as the Saints completion rate plummeted and error rate soared. Two tries brought them back to within two points at the interval and changed the complexion of the game.

Ricky Bailey restored the Saints lead from the first set of the second period but a knock on from Grace on half way gave the Rovers winger a stroll in to complete his hat-trick.

There then followed a 20 minute stint where the Saints held the ball for only 5 tackles. Thankfully one thing the team can do fairly well is to defend their own line which they did remarkably well keeping the visitors out before breaking out. Four tackles later and Bailey put Matty Fleming through, the centre had his ankles tapped, fell over but offloaded from the floor to put Calvin Wellington over.

Another great defensive effort forced a desperate kick on the last from their own 10 metre line. It was caught by Grace who threaded his way through the broken Rovers line to touch down at the posts for a fine individual try.

The visitors got a consolation with the last action of the day before the referee put everyone in a Saints jersey out of their misery.

Defensively everyone did well but with the ball it’s hard to pick out anyone worthy of a mention for anything other than piece of individual skill. Rob Fairclough showed a couple of nice touches as did Regan Grace for his tries and Ricky Bailey was always a threat with the ball but…….

Needless to say massive improvements will have to be made before the visit of men from the Halliwell Jones next week.

Match Summary:

Saints U19s:
Tries: Liam Cooper (8), Morgan Knowles (14), Regan Grace (21, 72), Ricky Bailey (42), Calvin Wellington (64).
Goals: Danny Richardson 5.

Hull KR U19s:
Tries: Connor Noble (11, 34, 46), George Lawler (25), Marvin Lee (78).
Goals: Steve Holker, Liam Harris 2.

Half Time: 18-16
Full Time: 34-26


18. Ricky Bailey; 2. Calvin Wellington, 4. Matty Fleming, 16. Ben Morris, 5. Regan Grace; 6. Danny Richardson, 7. Rob Fairclough; 15. Levy Ngoungou, 20. Jonah Cunningham, 10. Matty Lees, 11. Morgan Knowles, 12. Liam Cooper, 21. Joe Ryan.
Subs: 8. Ross McCauley, 14. Josh Eaves, 15. Phil Atherton, 17. Lewis Hatton.

Hull KR:
21. Joe Wardill; 22. Connor Noble, 2. Ben Holdstock, 19. Trevor Oloutch, 27. Ash Leaming; 6. Marvin Lee, 7. Liam Harris; 17. Chris Smith, 28. Tom Blakey, 8. Steve Holker, 11. Aidan Armstrong, 12. Harry Aldous, 13. George Lawler.
Subs: 14. William Jubb, 16. Kieran Moran, 20. Joe Cator, 25. Joe Appleyard.

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