15-Try 19s Maul Trinity

ON paper this was a banana skin waiting to happen for a young and relatively inexperienced Saints outfit, writes Graham Henthorne.

The Saints, bereft of some of their more well-known stars due to injury and international call-ups against a Wildcats side, mid-table but with some notable performances against good opposition.

As it turned out it was an outstanding performance from a hungry Saints side which harked back to the Brazilian days of near yesteryear.

Led by four try Elliot Jenkins and ably assisted by his half back partner Brad Billsborough, the Saints were just too good for the Wildcats and would have been for almost anyone placed in front of them.

However, the first four minutes were all Wildcats as they were camped out on the Saints line, even having a try cancelled out for a double movement.

But from that penalty two drives from Jordan Olmez and the frighteningly young Alex Eckley put the Saints on the front foot. On the third tackle hands from Jenkins and Billsborough saw Jake Spedding commit his defender before setting his winger Kev Brown free. His mazy inside run ended with a pass to Jenkins and a run to the line for the opening try.

Three more tries in the next ten minutes saw the game over as a contest and the coaching staff start to pinch themselves at what we might be about to witness.

A Jenkins offload out of a tackle from a scrappy piece of play allowed Aaron Smith to score the second and a high kick from the stand-off saw Mike Weldon continue his rise with a try to signal yet another stellar performance.

Captain Liam Cooper scored the fourth try taking Weldon’s pass after a great offload from Olmez.

Jenkins scored his second after a fabulous jink inside which nearly put him off his own feet.

Olmez heralded another wonderful performance of his own with a try under the stick after good work from Cameron Brown and Regan Grace.

The visitors had not hoisted the white flag at this stage and put the Saints under pressure for a period of time but this was lifted as Kev Brown put Chris Follin away for the final score of the half.

It didn’t take rocket science coaching to say more of the same please and after another five minutes of Wildcat pressure that’s exactly what we got as Ben Morris almost put Cooper away before he broke clear on the next tackle and put Jonah Cunningham under the sticks.

If they hadn’t known there was nothing on for them today before, the Wildcats definitely knew it after their kick on the last deep in Saints territory had ricocheted straight into the hands of Kev Brown who scooted in from 90 metres out.

Four further tries in a ten minute period from Jenkins twice, one from an outrageous Cunningham dummy, and one each from Cam Brown and Owen Smith put the Saints way ahead of the point a minute target they had set themselves.

The slightly harsh sin-binning of Kev Brown slowed things up but a 95 metre interception try from Spedding and an 80 metre canter from Morris put the seal onto a truly spectacular performance.

Don’t get me wrong, the opposition didn’t stop trying and you can see why they have beaten quality opposition, but today they were not given a sniff by the Saints.

As much as the quality of some of the tries was Summer Rugby encapsulated, the pleasing thing about today’s performance was the quality of the defence. To nil anyone in this league takes some doing, but you do that by hitting hard and often.

The quality of the tackling today was, in many cases, brutal and a measure of that was how many of the opposition got up slowly or not at all.

Unbeaten run still very much intact but all thoughts turned straight away to the next task in hand, Castleford at the Mend-a-Hose jungle on Thursday night. No rest for the wicked!

Match Summary:

Saints U19s:
Tries: Elliott Jenkins (5, 23, 54 & 65), Aaron Smith (8), Mike Weldon (12), Liam Cooper (15), Jordan Olmez (28), Chris Follin (38), Jonah Cunningham (45), Kevin Brown (51), Cameron Brown (58), Owen Smith (63), Jake Spedding (70), Ben Morris (77).
Goals: Brad Billsborough 12.

Wakefield U19s:
Tries:
Goals:

Half Time: 38-0
Full Time:
84-0

Teams:

Saints:
1. Matty Costello; 5. Regan Grace, 4. Cameron Brown, 3. Jake Spedding, 2. Kevin Brown; 7. Elliott Jenkins, 6. Brad Billsborough; 8. Jordan Olmez, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Alex Eckley, 11. Liam Cooper, 12. Ben Morris, 13. Mike Weldon.
Subs: 14. Jonah Cunningham, 15. Chris Follin, 16. Callum Hazzard, 19. Owen Smith.

Wakefield:
1. Tom Megretton; 2. Kyle Ratchford, 3. Ryan Strafford, 4. Liam Senior, 5. Lee Kershaw; 6. Scott Fleming, 7. Christian Ackroyd; 8. Jack Arnold, 9. Brad Moules, 10. Frazer Morris, 11. Shaun Woofitt, 12. Chris Brown, 13. Jordan Crowther.
Subs: 14. Sam Blake, 15. Aaron Yorke, 16. Callum Sampson, 17. Lewis Wray.

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