THE second leg of the trio of games between the Saints and the Wolves started with the draw for the U16’s on Thursday continued with a win 29-16 for the U19’s at a sunny Langtree, writes Graham Henthorne.
The Saints welcomed back Jorge Lewtas from injury but still fielded a very young side against their much more experienced visitors.
However, as has been seen in other matches previously, this side has a habit of performing above its age and relative experience.
They were asked to come out and impose themselves on the opposition and that’s exactly what they did as the Wolves had very few sets of six in the Saints half.
Elliott Jenkins opened the scoring on ten minutes taking a great offload from Mike Weldon after the loose forward managed to stick his nose through the defensive line.
Aggressive defence force the visitors to drop the ball on their own 30 metre line. From the scrum the Saints pounded the Wire line. On the last the ball was spread right to Brad Billsborough who dummied the pass out standing his opposite number up. He then gave it out to Cameron Brown who put Dave Eccleston clear. The winger stepped inside the cover promoting the position for Billsborough’s conversion.
Lewtas showed how much he’d been missed with a good run being held short as was Brad Pinder from the play the ball then Evan Bullen was held over the line on the fifth. On the last the ball was put out the back to Billsborough who stepped back twice off his right foot to dive over the line to the right of the posts.
Billsborough’s third conversion made it an 18 point lead and his drop goal on the last a minute from time made it a four score lead.
As ever it’s difficult replicating the first half’s attitude and control after the break and despite a big defensive effort which kept the visitors at bay poor ball control gave possession back to the Wire. On the fourth the Saints conceded a soft try as the sub hooker pounced over the line from dummy half.
On the restart the Wolves got to the last but put the ball out of the full giving the Saints a scrum n their half. Bullen and Jake Spedding drove the ball in but on the last Brad Pinder jumped out of the play the ball passing it left to Jordan Olmez. The big prop passed left to Weldon who offloaded brilliantly to the supporting Olmez who finished the move touching down 10 metres in.
As the game went on the heat and the heavy recent schedule on these young players started to take its toll as they were caught out wide twice on the left.
However, in between big tackles from Spedding and Ricky Bailey saved certain tries.
Aaron Smith had a golden chance to put Liam Cooper over, deciding instead to keep the ball but he made up for it a couple of minutes later as he put his Captain in.
The first half was infinitely better than the second but with a couple of weeks off and more players coming back from injury to augment the squad the Saints are looking good to continue their good form.
Bailey and Spedding showed good awareness going forward and also without the ball and Olmez, Bullen and the youngest of all Alex Eckley made big yards every time they touched the ball.
Tries: Elliott Jenkins (10), Dave Eccleston (26), Brad Billsborough (33), Jordan Olmez (47), Liam Cooper (70).
Goals: Brad Billsborough (4 from 5).
Drop Goals: Brad Billsborough (38).
Tries: Yohan Veve (44), Charlie Phythian (54 & 75).
Goals: Harvey Livett (2 from 3).
Half Time: 19-0
Full Time: 29-10
1. Ricky Bailey; 2. Dave Eccleston, 4. Cameron Brown, 3. Jake Spedding, 5. Regan Grace; 6. Elliott Jenkins, 7. Brad Billsborough; 8. Levy Nzoungou, 9. Aaron Smith, 16. Alex Eckley, 11. Liam Cooper (C), 12. Chris Follin, 13. Mike Weldon.
Subs: 10. Jordan Olmez, 14. Brad Pinder, 15. Jorge Lewtas, 18. Evan Bullen.
1. Declan Kay; 2. Lewis Turner, 3. Jack Roper, 4. Charlie Phythian, 5. Will Dagger; 6. Harvey Livett, 7. Brad Stanway; 8. Andy Philbin, 9. Reece Brunt, 10. Pat Moran, 11. Ellis Gillam, 12. Nathan Ainsworth, 13. Ellis Robson.
Subs: 14. Alex Tankard, 15. Jordan Williams, 16. Yohan Veve, 17. Alex Whalley.