Saints U16s scholarship side (which happens to be made up of mostly U15s!) completed the double over their older opponents from Odsal.
The team, which has been building in both confidence and ability since the horror shows of early doors, again produced the goods this time on the big stage, writes Graham Henthorne.
And they fully deserved the chance to showcase their wares as a curtain raiser and win 38-12.
The script was well and truly underway as the Saints scored on their first possession. Drives from Kye Siyani and Brandon Scully put them on the front foot allowing Lewis Dodd to lift a high bomb to test the Bulls full back out. And he was found wanting as he flapped at the ball then was beaten to the loose ball by the flying Josh Simm who did what you’re supposed to do on a kick.
The Saints then showed the other side to their character with some great defensive work over three sets on their own line. Dodd and Simm were again to the fore along with hooker Brandon O’Neill and Callum Taylor keeping the Bulls out.
The spell was broken and O’Neill’s great clearing kick on the fourth tackle was taken by the Bulls full back who was then unceremoniously bundled into touch.
From the scrum the ball was worked right then quick hands saw it back left for Callum Taylor to score on the overlap.
The Saints third score was set in motion by the biggest and yet youngest of the forwards Jamie Pye whose wonderful drive and quick play the ball allowed O’Neill to jump out of dummy half and take it to the line before feeding the supporting Dodd speeding up on the outside. He nonchalantly stepped the full back on his way to the posts from 40 metres out.
The Bulls were in freefall at the moment and knocked on in their own 20 metre area on the second tackle from the re-start.
From the scrum Dodd stepped through the line feeding the supporting Joe Spencer to go under the black dot.
His third conversion gave the Saints a point a minute 22 point lead but ironically it was Dodd who let the Bulls back into it with a knock-on from the kick off as the ball viciously dipped on him. From the scrum the Bulls piled on the pressure as only they know how and the Saints conceded a soft try from dummy half.
The second half was more of a scrappy affair all round as the Bulls, buoyed by their score before the break, came at the Saints with more confidence and the Saints couldn’t quite seem to find their rhythm again.
Having said that the Saints scored twice without reply within 15 minutes.
The first after powerful winger Kelvin Ojeaburu had taken Dodd’s wide miss pass and managed to stay in down the right. From the play the ball Jamie Little spotted the tiniest of gaps down the blind side and dove in to score despite the ministrations of three Bulls players.
The second try came from a delightful miss pass from sub Lewis Baxter who put Josh Simm clear and the silky centre stepped inside the three covering Bulls to go round under the posts.
Unfortunately Simm then became sinner as he took the Bulls catcher in the air giving them a relieving penalty. They took full advantage scoring on the left as quick hands created the opening.
Jamie Little then stopped any thoughts of a comeback in its tracks with a magnificent try saving tackle. Yet another example of fantastic defence shown by the stand-off all evening.
The final score came from O’Neill as the hooker showed an outrageous dummy to score when he should really have passed out wide for the easier route to the line. Dodd had started the move with 40 metre run down the left. Simm took it inside from the play the ball before being stopped short.
The final coup de grace would have been a Simm hat-trick but he dropped a sitter over the line.
Defensively the willingness to work for each other was fantastic led by Jamie Little.
With ball in hand, Ojeaburu showed an appetite for work that, once fully fit, will worry many teams. Scully had his now customary solid game as did Reece Wilkinson with some nuggety runs down the middle. Matty Holland showed promise as O’Neill’s back up and Jamie Pye continues to bely his age.
But it’s hard to go beyond Lewis Dodd as the Man of the Match as he also belies his age and experience in moving the team around.
Tries: Josh Simm (1 & 49), Callum Taylor (12), Lewis Dodd (19), Joe Spencer (23), Jamie Little (42), Brandon O’Neill (64).
Goals: Lewis Dodd 5 from 7.
Tries: Jonathan Diskin (25), Guy Worstenholme (53).
Goals: Mathew Race 2 from 2.
Half Time: 22-6
Full Time: 38-12
1. Tom Williams; 19. Kelvin Ojeaburu, 3. Jumah Sambou, 4. Josh Simm, 2. Callum Taylor; 6. Jamie Little, 7. Lewis Dodd; 8. Kian Horridge, 9. Brandon O’Neill, 10. Brandon Scully, 11. Benjamin Betts, 12. Kye Siyani, 13. Reece Wilkinson.
Subs: 5. Lewis Baxter, 14. Mathew Holland, 15. Will Toone, 16. Matthew Foster, 17. Jamie Pye, 18. Joe Spencer.
1. Jack Smith; 2. Dan McGrath, 3. Kieran Brining, 4. Conor Appleyard, 5. Murphy Smith; 7. Mathew Race, 6. Harry Shackleton; 8. Layton Heywood, 9. Jonathan Diskin, 10. Isaac Coleman, 11. James Fieldhouse, 12. Thomas Berry, 13. Dan Edwards.
Subs: 14. Reece Barraclough, 15. Bradley Ho, 16. Guy Worstenholme, 17. Ciaran Dickinson, 18. Lewis McGreavy, 19. William Clerehugh, 20. Luke Littlewood.