19s Stutter Past Devils

SAINTS continued their unbeaten run in this year’s competition easily beating a workmanlike but ultimately poor Red Devils side 46-16. But this was a stuttering performance where nobody was totally on their game, writes Graham Henthorne.

The story of the night was played out in the first ten minutes when the Saints bombed three tries. Firstly Levy Nzoungou knocked on attempting to take Aaron Smith’s crash ball at the sticks.

From a scrum ten out from the line Ricky Bailey peeled left but inexplicably passed to my Dad in the stand instead of his winger Regan Grace and moments later Jordan Olmez knocked on ten metres out from a pass he would take nine times out of ten with his eyes closed!

Despite all this the visitors were worse and continued to invite the Saints in and eventually the dam broke. Again from a scrum deep in enemy territory Bailey was stopped inches short. From the play the ball Smith found Jake Spedding who had the easiest of scores.

From the kick off the Saints got the ball out to Grace who beat his opposite number down the touchline and just as your correspondent was sharpening his pencil to notch down the try he ran straight at the full back almost tackling himself.

Thankfully a great grubber from Elliott Jenkins, something he repeated numerous times during the game, earned the Saints a repeat set and two tackles in Nzoungou turned on the magic stepping his way past three statuesque tacklers to score.

Belying a completion rate of only 50 % the Saints continued to score points this time in the form of Ben Morris who followed a great dummy half break from Smith to take the offload to plunge over at the posts.

The visitors opened their account after the kick off was allowed to bounce and two tackles later the Red Devils best player, sub prop Fowden, barged over from close range.

Smith continued to torment the visitors being held up over the line. From the restart a lovely miss pass from Callum Hazard found Grace who twisted over in the corner.

Brad Billsborough made if four from four to give the Saints a comfortable cushion at oranges.

Just when you thought they couldn’t get any worse the Saints started the second period with four penalties on the run, the last resulting in a sin-binning for Spedding for ball stealing.

However, the Saints managed to score whilst down a man as Morris picked up his second after Jordan Olmez had been held up.

A rare attack from the visitors ended with them passing to Bailey who immediately turned defence into attack clearing his lines. Grace took it on another 30 metres before quick hands put his fellow winger Dave Eccleston in at the corner.

Billsborough missed his only conversion of the night and then compounded a display to forget by giving the perfect pass which was intercepted and returned 80 metres for the try.

From the kick off a fine 40/20 from the visiting hooker Moore resulted in him barging over from close in and looked like making the score respectable.

Normal service was resumed though as first Chris Follin just about controlled Billsborough’s pass on his thigh before crashing over.

Then the final act was a deserved try to Olmez taking Jenkins’ delightful inside ball to go over.
It’s a measure of the expectation for this team and the individuals in it that despite scoring 46 points no-one was happy with the performance. But it’s also a measure of the stature of the individuals within the team when you consider how young the team is and yet it’s still managing to find a way to beat any and every one placed before them.

Olmez and Smith were the best on a day when most struggled for consistency. Now it’s on to Odsal on Thursday for the next chapter in the season.

Match Summary:

Saints U19s:
Tries: Jake Spedding (14), Levy Nzoungou (15), Ben Morris (23 & 50), Regan Grace (33), Chris Follin (71), Jordan Olmez (78).
Goals: Brad Billsborough (6 from 7).

Salford U19s:
Tries: Luke Fowden (26), Elliot Caine (65), Aaron Moore (68).
Goals: Lewis Fairhurst (1 from 1), Aaron Moore (1 from 2).

Half Time: 24-6
Full Time: 46-16


1. Ricky Bailey; 2. Dave Eccleston, 4. Lewis Furlong, 3. Jake Spedding, 5. Regan Grace; 6. Brad Billsborough, 7. Elliott Jenkins; 8. Levy Nzoungou, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Jordan Olmez, 11. Liam Cooper, 12. Ben Morris, 13. Mike Weldon.
Subs: 14. Brad Pinder, 15. Chris Follin, 16. Callum Hazzard, 18. Evan Bullen.

1. Connor Williams; 2. Elliot Caine, 3. Harry Madders, 4. Alex Gaskell, 5. Jake Knox; 6. John Whittaker, 7. Lewis Fairhurst; 8. Jack Cottington, 9. Aaron Moore, 10. Chris Worrall, 11. Declan Hidden, 12. Lewis Hatton, 13. Liam Bent.
Subs: 14. Brad Storey, 15. Lewis Gregory, 17. Jack Thompson, 18. Luke Fowden.

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