Grace Bags Three In Big Win

THIS game was over as a contest after quarter of an hour as the Saints had already run in four tries against their overwhelmed opponents, writes Graham Henthorne.

The Giants were so desperate to stop the marauding Saints that they had conceded five penalties by this time but still only had the ball for one set.

Last year the Levynator and Matty Lees showed glimpses of what we could expect this term but generally off the bench. This year they are the starting props and if this display is anything to go by then we are in for a treat.

The Giants couldn’t handle either of them as they busted holes directly down the middle of the hapless defensive line with Matty Lees literally trampling the hooker into the ground.

Behind this you had the guile of Aaron Smith, Rob Fairclough and the outstanding Danny Richardson directing traffic. As spectators you had no idea where they were going to go next and the Giants defence were no better as they tried in vain to stop the juggernaut.

Regan Grace opened the 19s account for 2016 as he scooted in for his first and then stretched out for his second, both courtesy of quick hands from Ben Morris and Jake Spedding inside him.

Spedding then scored one of his own as again hands, this time from Richardson & Fairclough put him clear.

This season’s Captain, Liam Cooper, got in on the act with a well taken try after a repeat set from a Richardson grubber. And when Aaron Smith dove over from dummy half on 17 minutes the Saints were out of sight at 26 – 0.

As it always does the game evened out a little in the second quarter with the Giants seeing some possession and the Saints having substituted their dominant front row. So much so that the visitors got off the mark on the half hour taking advantage of a Saints knock on.

However, don’t think that I’m insinuating that the second choice front row can’t cut it. Far from it. But it does take time to get to grips with the speed of the game as debutants Jordan Olmez and Jorge Lewtas found out but get to grips they did, both contributing in spades in attack and defence.

And in Jonah Cunningham we have one of the best hookers coming off the bench to punish weary defenders. On the stroke of the break he did just that driving over at the sticks.

The second half was an exercise in keeping going and not taking the foot off the gas.

Three minutes in and Morgan Knowles showed everyone that the saints were not going to ease up. Fresh from his sojourn in the First Team he showed he’s lost none of his appetite for Rugby at this level with a typically rumbustious display and a try crashing over the line.

Mike Weldon showed he’d well and truly put his injury woes behind him as he introduced himself to the game and the visitors with a big hit producing a knock on from the Giants on their own 40. From the scrum Grace simply rounded his opposite number for his hat-trick.

Lees was sin-binned on the hour for taking out the man without the ball and whilst he was off the Giants impressive second row scored out wide to make their total respectable.

But as Lees came back onto the field the Saints finished in style with three more tries.

Firstly Smith dummied his way over from close range then Lees scored a deserved try from the second row as he terrorised his opposite number into falling out of his way as he powered over.

Finally, Spedding capped a good personal performance winning the 80 metre race to touch down Richardson’s long kick down field.

What a difference to the opening display last year! The forwards were sharp in both attack and especially defence not giving any space for the Giants to play and behind them the halves dictated the show producing a dazzling display of handling from all the outside backs.

The trick now, of course, is to keep it going but putting 11 tries past a big, powerful Huddersfield team is a fabulous way to start.

Match Summary:

Tries: Regan Grace (1, 5 & 58), Jake Spedding (8 & 79), Liam Cooper (14), Aaron Smith (17 & 73), Jonah Cunningham (40), Morgan Knowles (43), Matty Lees (76).
Goals: Danny Richardson 7.

Tries: Billy Hayes (30), Liam Johnson (68).
Goals: Izaac Farrell.

Half Time: 32-6
Full Time: 58-10


1. Ricky Bailey; 2. David Eccleston, 4. Lewis Furlong, 3. Jake Spedding, 5. Regan Grace; 7. Rob Fairclough, 6. Danny Richardson; 8. Levy Nzoungou, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Matty Lees, 11. Liam Cooper (C), 12. Ben Morris, 13. Morgan Knowles.
Subs: 14. Jonah Cunningham, 16. Jorge Lewtas, 17. Mike Weldon, 18. Jordan Olmez.

1. Kieron Reilly; 2. Jake Etchells, 4. Jake Wardle, 3. Darnell McIntosh, 5. Harry Woollard; 6. Will Ingleby, 7. Izaac Farrell; 8. Matty English, 9. Fletcher Davies, 10. Connor Redgwick, 11. Ronan Costello, 12. Liam Johnson, 13. Billy Hayes.
Subs: 14. Jamie Greenwood, 15. Ben Harley, 16. Sam Hewitt, 17. Jon Loke Kirby.

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