16s Earn Creditable Point

THE Scholarship U16s made their second trip in a fortnight to the East Coast to face the City of Hull Academy. This time they were facing a side bolstered by the five players who had been on Greta Britain duty in France but also had their own three tourists back in the fold, writes Graham Henthorne.

Unfortunately the game was decided by a refereeing blunder that your correspondent has never seen the like of in all his years watching the game.

Early in the second half the home side created an overlap down their left. The lively scrum half floated a pass out to his winger who had a stroll into the corner. The referee blew his whistle and shouted forward pass. The whole of the Saints contingent blew a huge sigh of relief and most importantly all 13 players stopped in their tracks.

Consequently, when seconds later the ref waved play on none of them were in any state to make any kind of play to stop the winger promoting the ball to behind the sticks

As you can imagine this caused uproar in the Saints ranks to which the refs only reply was: “Sorry, I got it wrong. It wasn’t forward. Sorry”.

When it was pointed out that our players had stopped, he again apologised but then awarded the try under the sticks anyway!

Now I’m no connoisseur of the rules and I’m ready to be corrected by anyone with greater knowledge, but I’m fairly certain that any mistake like that, when the whistle has been blown, has to be restarted with a scrum to the side in possession not allowed to play on.

Had the try been scored in the corner, which would have been the right outcome originally, the conversion would have been from the touchline which is a different proposition than from under the black dot.

Having said all the above the game was all that it promised to be and the above aside one that again the 16s could and probably should have won.

The home side started like a house on fire ready to show those upstarts from across the Pennines that they weren’t going to win this time and it took fabulous last ditch tackling from firstly Tom Nisbett and then Jack Welsby (on his Saints debut) and Ben Sims to save certain tries. But they finally broke through as their speedy left winger scored in the corner.

But the Saints came roaring back with two tries of their own to take a commanding lead.

A great short ball from Christian Kellett put Sam Royle away only for the big prop to be pulled down short. From the play the ball Paul Nash burrowed through to score.

The second was a great piece of individual play from winger Nisbett. Having been caught by an overlap for the first try he spotted the same situation again but this time diffused it with a fabulous interception. He then stood the full back up before rounding him and outpaced the cover to the corner for a wonderful try.

Poor tackling down the middle allowed Hull to draw closer as the second row broke through to score and yet more try saving tackling from Welsby, Dave Griffiths and Eddie McLorie was required as the home side came back into it.

The Saints should have extended their lead on the stroke of half time as centre Sean Croston had the ball knocked from his grip over the line and the try was lost.

After the break the saints Achilles heel showed itself as they conceded two tries in the first ten minutes.

But as they have in all their other games they responded in fantastic fashion spending virtually the rest of the half in opposition territory.

After the restart Croston intercepted on half way. Three tackles later and some neat interplay from Lewis Gartland and Sims resulted in a drop off to Welsby and some great footwork saw the Stand-off in for the try.

The Saints were in Hull’s faces constantly forcing the home side into errors but were fortunate in the try which brought the scores level.

A grubber on the last rebounded to Croston who grubbered again before winning the race to the touchdown. Crucially the conversion was missed and the scores remained level.

Hooker Nash blotted an otherwise spotless copy book minutes from the end as he dropped the ball over the line but in the final ten minutes the Saints spurned three penalty kicks to touch choosing to run the ball instead and also didn’t attempt a drop goal which would have earned them the spoils.

A draw kept alive the proud record that in 2016 all the Saints Junior sides are still unbeaten.

It was probably a fair result but as touched on earlier the way it came about left a little sour taste in the mouth.

However, as any player from yesteryear will tell you, a draw away from home is winning pay, and this Saints side should feel immense pride in the past two weeks. Not many sides go to Hull in such quick succession and come away with anything let alone coming away with two such good performances.

This team is growing together as a group and even though we might all wish they didn’t get themselves in a hole in the first place, when they do they respond and dig themselves out.

Match Summary:

Hull U16s:
Tries: Elliott Wallis (5 & 37), Barnaby Teasdale (25), Robbie Storey (44).
Goals: Joe Rustill 3.

St Helens U16s:
Tries: Paul Nash (12), Tom Nisbett (17), Jack Welsby (47), Sean Croston (58).
Goals: Mike Wynn 3.

Half Time: 12-10
Full Time: 22-22

Teams:

Hull:
1. Joe Rustill; 5. Lewis Todd, 3. Gabe Hawtree, 4. Robbie Storey, 2. Elliott Wallis; 6. Harry Whittles, 7. Harrison Morrow; 8. Jack Brown, 9. Jordan Webster, 10. Kai Thorpe, 11. Barnaby Teasdale, 12. Adam Rooks, 13. Callum Tranmer.
Subs: 14. Kieran Sewell, 15. Charlie Patterson-Lund, 16. Brad Elliott, 17. Tom Burke, 18. Tom Burnett, 19. George Tyson-Wilson.

Saints:
1. David Griffiths; 2. Tom Nisbett, 3. Jake Sculthorpe, 4. Sean Croston, 5. Jake Pass; 6. Jack Welsby, 7. Mike Wynn; 8. Christian Kellett, 9. Paul Nash, 10. Sam Royle, 11. Ben Sims, 12. Eddie McLorie, 13. Matthew Ashcroft.
Subs: 14. Ryan Horne, 15. Reece Jackson, 16. Luke Maloney-Ward, 17. Louis Brogan, 18. Adam Hooper, 19. Callum Cooke, 20. Lewis Gartland.

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