Reserves Remain Unbeaten

FOR 45 minutes of this match the Saints showed exactly what they’re capable of and wiped the floor with their hosts, writes Graham Henthorne.

Unfortunately for the other 35 minutes at the beginning and end the Saints were decidedly ordinary giving a poor Wolves side a sniff of a chance.

The signs were there in the Wolves first set as they marched 70 metres downfield and scored wide out from a 10 metre scrum after Jack Owens had run into touch on the first tackle.

Two further tries following piggybacking penalties and wafer thin tackling left the Saints with a 16 point deficit and a mountain to climb.

But climb it they did with Danny Richardson leading the way taking a hold of his own game and thence the match bringing the forwards onto the ball with more vigour.

The Saints first penalty of the game saw the first try scored as well. Owen Smith and Calvin Wellington were held short on the right and from the play the ball the ball was swung left were Sam Royle did what every good second row should do as he held up his opposite number before feeding his centre and giving Dave Eccleston chance to step inside for his first of the night.

The introduction of Jake Spedding and Adam Walker fresh from 18th & 19th man duties for the first team at Widnes gave the team that extra spark and it was on the back of a Walker drive and quick play the ball that Calvin Wellington burst through some woeful tackles to crash over.

The Saints finished the half behind on the board but in total control of the game a fact Coach Talbot emphasised. The call was to use the Saints extra skill and fitness levels and blow the Wolves away.

And that’s exactly what the Saints did with the forwards rampaging down the middle and steam rolling through the Wolves.

But it was Hull KR import Will Jubb whose big hit jolting the ball loose on half way gave the indication of which way the match was going. On this occasion a knock on lost the chance but 2 minutes later a giant Walker push in the back on the Wolves scrum half forced the knock on.

The big prop was stopped on the 10 metre line four tackles later and from the play the ball George Milton, looking much more like his self in this second stint, powered over under the sticks.

The Wolves were in disarray at this point making no headway in the sets and being pressurised left right and centre.

From one such pressured high kick which only reached the Saints 40 metre line Eccleston gathered the bouncing ball and set off on a curving run through the defensive line to the full back whereupon he fed Richardson on his inside who outstripped the cover to the posts.

Walker and Jonah Cunningham then displayed some fine passing skills as Cunningham darted out of dummy half to the line fed Walker with a great short ball to get the big man through the line and then backed him up to take the return pass to go under the black dot.

Three tries, two to the third Rovers import Will Oakes, were butchered due to forward passes or knock-ons before Eccleston scored his second of the night and registered 34 unanswered points.

Walker’s short ball put Richardson away on a mazy run to the full back and in trying to turn him around he decided to pass to the charging Jack Owens who was caught from behind. The chance was not lost, however, as from the play the ball Richardson’s miss pass put his winger in.

However, that was when the bad habits of the first quarter returned allowing the home side to make the score look respectable and requiring a last ditch try saver from Oakes to keep the lead intact.

So simple when everyone has their head screwed on and plays as they can but so poor when the attitudes just aren’t right.

Royle, Owen Smith, Wellington and Cunningham ran hard and got joy as did the three Rovers imports. Aaron Smith and Jack Owens supported Richardson well but in the 50 minutes he played Adam Walker showed that he is a class above Reserve grade and is due a return to higher things soon.

Match Summary:

Tries: Taylor Prell (3), Patrick Moran (12), Brad Stanway (18), Lewis Hatton (66), Declan Kay (68).
Goals: Brad Stanway 3 from 5.

Tries: Dave Eccleston (23 & 62), Calvin Wellington (32), George Milton (45), Danny Richardson (49), Jonah Cunningham (55), .
Goals: Danny Richardson 5 from 6.

Half Time: 16-12
Full Time: 26-34


1. Will Dagger; 5. Ryan Jones, 3. Danny Rasool, 4. Declan Kay, 2. Taylor Prell; 26. Jack Johnson, 7. Brad Stanway; 29. Patrick Moran, 9. Jay Lobwein, 10. Joe Ryan, 11. Lee Mitchell (C), 12. Lewis Hatton, 25. Sam Wilde.
Subs: 14. Harry Reardon, 15. Lee Dyas, 16. Kane Ditchfield, 17. Alex Whalley, 21. Paddy Jones, 27. Morgan Smith.

21. Jack Owens; 5. Jordan Gibbons, 4. Calvin Wellington, 3. Dave Eccleston, 2. Will Oakes; 7. Danny Richardson (C), 6. Brad Billsborough; 18. Jordan Olmez, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. George Milton, 11. Liam Cooper, 12. Will Jubb, 13. Jonah Cunningham.
Subs: 8. Adam Walker, 14. Sam Royle, 16. Owen Smith, 19. Jake Spedding.

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